Military Chief's Removal, Rise In Hemlines: Hopeful Signs In North Korea?

Jul 16, 2012

Less than a week after all the tea-reading over what, if anything, it means that Korean leader Kim Jong Un may have a love in his life, now there are these stories to ponder:

-- "Kim Jong Un's top military official — a key mentor to North Korea's new young leader — has been removed from all posts because of illness, state media said Monday. At least one analyst speculated that a more likely reason for Ri Yong Ho's departure is Kim's desire to put his own mark on the government he inherited from his father late last year." (The Associated Press)

Reuters says Kim and his closest advisers "may be purging the ruling elite to strengthen their grip on the secretive state."

-- "Keeping track of women's hemlines is, admittedly, an unusual way to judge the mind-set of a country's leader. But that is just what veteran North Korea watchers have resorted to. ... For weeks now, those analysts have puzzled over photos of women sporting miniskirts and heels in downtown Pyongyang. ... Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Dongguk University in Seoul, counts himself in the hopeful camp. He calls recent changes in the North 'a glasnost.' " (The New York Times)

As for Kim's love live and his "mystery woman," the pop singer we reported about last Tuesday, she has been seen with him again.

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