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"ROCKET MAN"

New photos show Kim Jong-un giving the world the madman it wants

KCNA via EPA
Eyes on the prize.
  • Johnny Simon
By Johnny Simon

Deputy Photo Editor

This article is more than 2 years old.

North Korea tested their new Hwasong-15 ballistic missile this week (Nov. 29), which some experts believe puts more of the United States in range of a nuclear strike.

Following the launch, North Korean state media released a series of pictures showing leader Kim Jong-un embracing military officials, laughing almost maniacally in front of a wall of monitors and seemingly fist-pumping in jubilation.

KCNA via EPA
Kim Jong Un reacts to a test of the newly developed inter-continental ballistic rocket Hwasong-15.

The release of images by North Korean state media is nothing new, but this recent batch departs from the typically staid photo ops of Mr. Kim. Official images tend to show Kim as a powerful and wise leader. He is often pictured carefully inspecting factories, reviewing military formations, or calmly basking in adulation.

KCNA via Reuters
Kernels and colonels.
KCNA via Reuters
A night at the theater.
KCNA via Reuters
Inspecting a submarine.

However this new collection reinforces the madman image of Mr. Kim that critics like US president Donald Trump love to evoke. Photos of Kim grinning ear-to-ear at a step forward in nuclear launch capability don’t give the impression of a military leader or even a head of state. If anything, he looks like a solitary actor plotting the destruction of the world.

Perhaps these images were intentionally constructed to troll the world’s preconceptions. If they want a madman, why not give them a madman?

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