July 08, 2015 09:33
North Korea is printing new badges showing leader Kim Jong-un alongside his grandfather and father.
North Korean officials have so far worn badges with the faces of former leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, but now the personality cult clearly includes the current leader.
A company in Pyongyang's Pyongchon district is making the badges with the faces of the three Kims on the occasion of the anniversary of the Workers Party on Oct. 10, a source said on Tuesday.
The company is printing the first batch of 3,000 to give out to senior party officials and senior members of the Socialist Youth League.
Back in 2012 when Kim Jong-un took power after his father's death, the young leader ordered the production of badges with his face alone to give out to the elites.
"It's a symbol of the completion of the hereditary succession in the Kim dynasty," said Prof. Nam Sung-wook of Korea University. "It's an attempt to emphasize the legitimacy of the Kim Jong-un regime and signify that a new era has begun."
The source said the new badges are being handed out to the elite first to create the impression that they are trusted and given privileged treatment.
Badges are considered insignias of social status in the North. They come in two designs, one for elites and the other for ordinary people.
The elite badges bear the faces of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il against the backdrop of the party flag, and they are seen as status symbols and often traded at high prices.
"Many North Koreans want to wear elite badges at weddings or other events to show off their social status," the source said.
Meanwhile, the regime is reportedly preparing to issue new ID cards to tighten controls.
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