North Korea’s new leader Kim Jong-un is taking several steps to enforce his position and silence his rivals. The latest decisions are the ousting of his army chief and a warning sent to his half-brother to stop criticizing the regime. Moreover, an attractive woman who began to show up by his side is meant to shape up Kim Jong-un’s image as a mature leader.
Ri Yong-ho, the head of the North Korean army, has been relieved of all his duties. The official reason is “illness”, but analysts speculate that the general was becoming too powerful and his sudden dismissal is a strong signal to others that rivals to Kim Jong-un will not be tolerated.
In another power move, the North Korean leader sent a warning to his older half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, through the voice of senior government representatives, to say nothing critical of the regime, especially on the issue of hereditary succession, a common feature in communist states.
The leader’s brother was exiled to Macau after he infuriated his father when arrested in 2001. He then tried to enter Japan with a fake passport and confessed that his destination was Disneyland. In the last years, he has been outspoken about the North Korean regime.
Last but not least, the North Korean leader started to show himself at public events accompanied by a young, attractive woman. Political sources say the woman may be Kim Jong-un’s wife, while analysts comment that the intention is to show him as a grown-up leader, cutting out speculation that at 29 he is too immature to lead a nuclear-armed state.