The news that “Footsteps” has been sung in a public performance for the second time indicates that the succession process is on track.
On October 9th, Chosun (North Korea) Central TV released news that Kim Jong Il had conducted an onsite inspection of the North Hwanghae Provincial Art Theater, which is newly built, and had viewed an opening performance by the Province’s art group. One part of the performance was a chorus version of “Footsteps,” which praises Kim’s third son, Kim Jong Eun.
Chosun Central TV released 25 still photos of the performance, releasing one under the caption, “Chorus, Footsteps.”
This is the second time that “Footsteps” has been sung in public at an event at which Kim Jong Il has been in attendance. The first was on May 25, when he watched a military performance.
In late July, when the succession process was deliberately slowed up by Kim Jong Il, the song, “Footsteps,” disappeared from cable broadcasts, and propaganda banners related to the succession were also taken down.
This drastic change led to swirling rumors in North Korean society, many of which focused on the possibility that Jong Eun had incurred his father’s displeasure as a result of over-reaching his power.
However, this performance of “Footsteps” implies that there are no significant problems in the succession itself, even though it is true that succession propaganda has been toned down substantially.
North Korean lecture materials praising Kim Jong Eun, which are circulating in the National Security Agency, state that “Footsteps” is a paean for a “21st Century Leader.”
Note: until recently, Jong Eun’s name had been spelled differently in both Korean and English, causing him to become known as Jong Woon. In truth, nobody except North Korea’s highest authorities definitively know the true spelling of his name, but the South Korean media is using Eun for the time being.