N.Korea Honors Kim Jong-il's Mother But Not His Wife

      December 26, 2011 12:22

      Ko Yong-hui

      The North Korean state media on Saturday heaped praises on dead leader Kim Jong-il's mother Kim Jong-suk, who died in 1949, to mark what would have been her 94th birthday.

      The official [North] Korean Central News Agency praised Kim Jong-suk for her "leadership" and "revolutionary spirit" for giving birth to their leader.

      It hailed her "legacy" to the Workers Party and the country by raising Kim Jong-il. A South Korean government official said the article was clearly intended to boost the Kim family personality cult and aid the succession of new leader Kim Jong-un.

      But the state media made no mention of the younger Kim's mother, Ko Yong-hui, who died in 2004. Experts say the reason is that she was an ethnic Korean from Japan, and therefore insufficiently "pure" by the North’s racist standards.

      She was also a dancer, a profession that exists in a kind of moral limbo. One source said, "In North Korea, ethnic Koreans from Japan are treated as second-class people at best. No good would come from publicizing the fact that the mother of their leader was Korean Japanese."

      There are intelligence reports that the propaganda department of the Workers Party, which had been designing new ways to boost the personality cult surrounding the Kim dynasty, has ordered its staff not to reveal Ko's background.

      But other experts say Kim Jong-un's mother will have to be idolized as well if a pure bloodline for the new leader is to be established. One said this could be done either by whitewashing Ko's background or by inventing another mother entirely.

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