Public opinion of the Kim Jong Eun regime is rapidly declining, especially among those in their 20s and 30s. According to a very recent defector, the failure of the authorities to do any of the things they said they would do, especially in economic terms, has led many to conclude that the new leader is “no different to the General.”
Park Hong Sung, a 35-year old who left North Korea at the tail end of last year, told Daily NK, “Everybody is saying that we need to reform but that Kim Jong Eun is only focused on imitating Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. The majority of young people now think that nothing will change even with the young son in charge.”
Park added that because of their sense of disappointment, many younger people have begun to abandon their interest in the Kim family, adopting once again the sort of “political nihilism” that characterized the Kim Jong Il era.
She continued, “The younger generation, people who have a university education or just know a little bit about politics, have put aside their expectations. Only a few harbor any hope now: the children of senior cadres, for example, or those who have just been discharged from military service. Also, people from farming regions who know nothing of the outside world.” Just 10% of the population, she guessed.
The reasons behind the younger generation’s reversion to cynicism include not only the state’s failure to roll out the June 28th Policy on time and the wasting of a colossal proportion of the national budget on long-range rocket launches, but also the ongoing daily repression that they have to put up with. The success of the December 12th launch, the second in 2012 alone, helped improve the mood for a while, but that feeling could not last.
Park said of the recent satellite launch, “I talked with some students from a university in Pyongyang, and they said to me, ‘Is having a gun so fortunate when you are hungry?’ The U.S. is not worried about this; in the end it is all for show’.”
Meanwhile, Park also said that the reason why Kim Jong Eun travels with wife Ri Sol Joo to public events is to “show that he doesn’t have the same kind of girl troubles his father did," and revealed that these days a lot of young people are turning to Chinese dramas for entertainment because South Korean ones get them into too much trouble. This is no problem with that, she said, since Chinese dramas are just as good as South Korean ones.