Seoul: North Korea`s young new leader gets
rock star treatment when he visits his troops just as his
father did. But while the late Kim Jong II mostly stayed aloof
in dark shades, his son holds hands and hugs his soldiers.
Kim Jong Un seems to want to bond with his country`s
people. The style harkens back to Kim II Sung, his grandfather
and revered founder of the country and ruling dynasty, and may
reflect an attempt to turn a corner on the periods of hardship
and famine under Kim Jong II, analysts say.
Kim II Sung`s image as a daring young general fighting
Japanese colonial troops is powerfully engraved in the minds
of North Koreans.
Cheers, applause and calls of "Hurrah!" greet Kim Jong Un
as he examines the heating systems of soldiers` quarters, the
pressure of their water faucets, the books stacked in their
libraries, even the taste of their food.
The North Korean state media reports and video footage of
such "guidance visits" provide rare windows into the
personalities of North Korea`s leaders for outsiders and for
the country`s people alike.
Few North Koreans, for instance, even knew what the elder
Kim`s voice sounded like, analysts say, despite his ruling for
17 years until his death December 17.
In visits made so far by Kim Jong Un, believed to be in
his late 20s, North Korea specialists have detected more
warmth in his approach than the dour tours made in recent
years by Kim Jong II.
The younger Kim may be trying to emulate Kim II Sung and
move away from his father, who ruled during a famine in the
mid- to late-1990s that killed hundreds of thousands, said Koh
Yu-hwan, a North Korea professor at Seoul`s Dongguk
North Korea also has faced international condemnation and
sanctions for its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
"He`ll try to look comfortable among the masses. He`ll try
to form an intimacy with the people, perhaps more than his
father did," Koh said.