North Koreans ordered to protect portraits of Kim Jong-Un as tropical storm Khanun looms

North Koreans have been told to do everything possible to protect portraits of the Kim dynasty, as the country braces for heavy rain and strong winds caused by tropical storm Khanun.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Korean Workers’ party, said people’s “foremost focus” should be on “ensuring the safety” of propaganda portraits of its current leader, Kim Jong-un, his father, Kim Jong-il, and his grandfather and North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung.

The newspaper also urged citizens to safeguard the large number of statues, mosaics, murals and other monuments to the Kim dynasty, which has ruled North Korea since it was founded in 1948.

Khanun, which made landfall on the Korean peninsula on Thursday, was expected to move across to the North on Friday.

Natural disasters can have a devastating impact on the impoverished North, where weak infrastructure and deforestation has increased its vulnerability to flooding.

The tropical storm has already caused floods and landslides in South Korea, with one death reported and more than 16,000 people forced to evacuate homes in at-risk areas.

North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency said that “all the sectors and units” in the country were “conducting a dynamic campaign to cope with disastrous abnormal climate”. It added that “strong wind, downpour, tidal wave and sea warnings” had been issued.

Khanun’s arrival comes just weeks after torrential rain caused flash floods and landslides that killed at least 47 people in South Korea.

The order to protect Kim imagery was a reminder of the importance the regime places on symbolism to reinforce its legitimacy.

Portraits of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung adorn every home and office in the country, and people can face execution for damaging them, even by accident, according to NK News.

“Let’s not forget that North Korea among other things is a theocratic state,” Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin University, told the website.

“These statues and portraits are not just symbols, but are sacred religious symbols – essentially icons. Every religion since times immemorial expects its faithful to be ready to die – or at least suffer – in order to save sacred icons.”

North Korean state media said that members of the military and the ruling party had been ordered to prepare flood-mitigation measures and salvage crops, amid reports that the storm could strike the capital, Pyongyang.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.