North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seen riding a white horse in the country’s latest propaganda video.
The white horse is meant to be a symbol of Kim’s divine right to rule, experts say.
The new film aired as North Korea conducted a record number of missile tests last month.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seen racing around on a white horse in the rogue state’s latest propaganda video, part of an apparent bid to depict the dictator as a heroic champion of the people.
The 110-minute propaganda film titled “The Great Year Of Victory, 2021” focuses on Kim’s efforts to revive North Korea’s weakened economy amid sanctions and pandemic struggles, what the film calls the “worst-ever hardships,”and emphasizes the young leader’s dedication to the people even to the point of sacricing his body.
The new propaganda film was released in the wake of a record-breaking month of missile tests involving so-called hypersonic weapons, cruise missiles, and even train-launched missiles.
In late January, North Korea launched its most powerful missile since 2017, firing a nuclear-capable Hwasong-12 intermediate range ballistic missile. The launch was the seventh such event that month.
North Korea’s weapon testing has raised concerns that these developments may be a sign North Korea might against pursue long-range missile tests or even restart nuclear tests, which created major tensions with nearby countries and the US in the past.
While the video came out amid a flurry of missile launches, experts say some of the scenes, especially Kim’s activities on horseback, speak to something more about North Korean society.
“The overriding theme of the documentary is Kim’s devotion to and hard work for the people,” Rachel Minyoung Lee, a fellow with the 38 North program at the Stimson Center, told AFP. “I don’t think we should read too much into the horse scenes, much less link them to North Korea’s recent missile launches and North Korea’s missile test plans.”
Past North Korean propaganda, such as a grand collection of photos showing Kim riding a horse at Mt. Paektu, has also featured Kim on a white horse, which is a symbol of his family’s dynastic rule, experts say.
The unusual images also highlight that he is a descendent of Kim Il Sung, the first North Korean leader.
“Photos of Kim astride a majestic white horse … are meant to project an image of strength. They may be comic to foreigners but North Koreans will immediately understand the messaging,” Jean H. Lee, a fellow at the Wilson Center and former Pyongyang bureau chief for the Associated Press, wrote in a blog post in 2019.
She added that “with this imagery, Kim is seeking to emphasize to his people that he has a divine, predestined right to rule, no matter what the outcome of the current diplomacy or the state of the economy under tough sanctions.”
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