On birthday of Kim Jong-il's son, a North Korea rising star
On the birthday of Kim Jong-un, North Korea leader Kim Jong-il's son, newspaper drew attention to the "unusual brightness" and placement of Venus, which was seen as a good sign for Kim Jong-un.
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Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency reported several days ago that the “morning star” Venus “shed an unusually bright light” above the lake that fills the crater of sacred Mount Paektu on North Korea’s border with China.
Considering that North Korean mythology holds that Kim Jong-un’s father, Dear Leader Kim Jong-il, was born in a log cabin on a slope of Paektu, at 9,000 feet the highest peak on the Korean peninsula, observers take the report of Venus shimmering high above as a serious portent.
North Korea’s party newspaper Rodong Sinmun evoked the image of Paektu again on Friday, calling on readers to “toast to the endlessly bright future of Chosun (the traditional name for Korea) that will resemble the shape of the sun and the holy land of Paektu.”
The editorial, like the report on “the morning star Venus,” did not mention Kim Jong-un by name, but analysts are confident of the connection. “They believe Venus symbolized Kim Jong-un,” says Ryoo Kihl-jae, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, carefully measuring his words. “Many people who have visited North Korea say so.”
Whether or not Kim Jong-un is openly declared as heir to his father’s power, reports of birthday observances around the country leave little doubt of his rising stature.
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Daily NK, one of several organizations in Seoul that write about North Korea, reported Friday on a “central conference” in Pyongyang and elsewhere featuring “commemorative events” for officials and “lectures for residents.” Such a conference is normally a grand affair, similar to those staged annually for Kim Jong-il’s birthday, which falls next month, or the birthdays of Kim Jong-il's father, Great Leader Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994, and mother, Kim Jong-suk, who died in 1949.
The commemorations parallel meetings going on around the country to rev up support for a revaluation of North Korea’s currency that has stripped a small but rising mercantile middle class of much of the money hoarded from often illicit black-market dealings. The currency reform is widely viewed as having failed since while the newly valued money goes down markedly in value, hunger persists, and markets flounder.