The official newspaper of North Korea has denied that the regime’s leaders can magically bend time and space, putting to bed a long tradition used to idolise the mystical powers of Kim Jong-un and former leader Kim Jong-il.
In the latest sign that the secretive regime is turning away from myth-making about its leaders, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper this week denied that the Kim family are masters of “chukjibeop”, a method of folding space and travelling great distances in a short period of time.
Chukjibeop is one of the myths that has been used by the North to deify its leaders.
The newspaper, the organ of the North’s ruling party, said: “In realistic terms, a person cannot suddenly disappear and reappear by folding space.”
On Thursday, an official at South Korea’s unification ministry said that the current regime’s trend of demystification is “noteworthy”.
“It appears to stress patriotism and love for the people rather than mystification of the leaders,” the official told Yonhap news agency.
Since Mr Kim failed to reach an agreement in a second summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi last year, he has focused on showing more of his “human” side, urging the North Korean people to stay away from the mystification of their leader.
“Mystifying a leader’s revolutionary activity and appearance would result in covering the truth,” Mr Kim was quoted as saying in state media in March last year after the breakdown of negotiations with the US.
“Absolute loyalty would spring up when (they) are mesmerised by the leader humanly and comradely.”
Earlier this month, Mr Kim appeared to make his first appearance in public for 20 days following rumours about his health.