Kim Jong-un unveils a new look

Kim Jong-un is sending a new signal to his citizens and to the rest of the world, with a brand new fashion look, informal, accessible, and friendly, in a series of photographs released by the official North Korean News Agency, timed to coincide with the news of a third summit between the leaders of North Korea and South Korea.

The rival Koreas have announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet in Pyongyang sometime in September.

The push for what would be the leaders' third summit since April comes amid renewed worries surrounding a nuclear standoff between Washington and Pyongyang.

The announcement released after nearly two hours of talks led by the rivals' chiefs for inter-Korean affairs was remarkably thin on details.

In a three-sentence joint statement, the two sides did not mention an exact date for the summit and provided no details on how to implement past agreements.

There is a slightly Trumpian flavor to the way this is being teased, and the way the relationship between the two men is described:

Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the North Korean agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs, told pool reporters at the end of the talks that officials agreed on a specific date for the summit in Pyongyang sometime within September, but he refused to share the date, saying he wanted to "keep reporters wondering."

He earlier told the South Korean delegation in opening remarks that the Koreas were like very close friends with an unbreakable bond.

The NKNA pictures are more revealing, I think.  Three examples:

Smiles all around.

Hitching up his pants!  Twice!  Looks as though he's lost weight.

Speculation had been that he purposely gained weight so as to resemble his grandfather, the founder of the North Korean regime.  There had been reports that his weight gain led to health problems.  Perhaps he was also bothered by President Trump's mockery of him back then as "short and fat."

The new look is definitely appealing to North Koreans and South Koreans as an accessible, friendly leader, not an authoritarian who speaks with the inherited status of a direct descendent of the regime's godlike founder.  It is only my speculation, but I think this might indicate that he has received backing from the key power figures in his regime.

To be sure, any such move can be suddenly reversed, and it also may be a feint intended to deceive.  Nonetheless, something is going on.  

Hat tip: John McMahon

Kim Jong-un is sending a new signal to his citizens and to the rest of the world, with a brand new fashion look, informal, accessible, and friendly, in a series of photographs released by the official North Korean News Agency, timed to coincide with the news of a third summit between the leaders of North Korea and South Korea.

The rival Koreas have announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet in Pyongyang sometime in September.

The push for what would be the leaders' third summit since April comes amid renewed worries surrounding a nuclear standoff between Washington and Pyongyang.

The announcement released after nearly two hours of talks led by the rivals' chiefs for inter-Korean affairs was remarkably thin on details.

In a three-sentence joint statement, the two sides did not mention an exact date for the summit and provided no details on how to implement past agreements.

There is a slightly Trumpian flavor to the way this is being teased, and the way the relationship between the two men is described:

Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the North Korean agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs, told pool reporters at the end of the talks that officials agreed on a specific date for the summit in Pyongyang sometime within September, but he refused to share the date, saying he wanted to "keep reporters wondering."

He earlier told the South Korean delegation in opening remarks that the Koreas were like very close friends with an unbreakable bond.

The NKNA pictures are more revealing, I think.  Three examples:

Smiles all around.

Hitching up his pants!  Twice!  Looks as though he's lost weight.

Speculation had been that he purposely gained weight so as to resemble his grandfather, the founder of the North Korean regime.  There had been reports that his weight gain led to health problems.  Perhaps he was also bothered by President Trump's mockery of him back then as "short and fat."

The new look is definitely appealing to North Koreans and South Koreans as an accessible, friendly leader, not an authoritarian who speaks with the inherited status of a direct descendent of the regime's godlike founder.  It is only my speculation, but I think this might indicate that he has received backing from the key power figures in his regime.

To be sure, any such move can be suddenly reversed, and it also may be a feint intended to deceive.  Nonetheless, something is going on.  

Hat tip: John McMahon