Among Kim Jong Un's priorities as North Korean leader are establish the nation as an intercontinental nuclear threat and organize a stage show featuring his favorite unauthorized Disney characters. He's succeeding in at least one.
The stage revue went off in Pyongyang over the weekend, The Associated Press reported from its North Korea bureau: "Performers dressed as Minnie Mouse, Tigger and others danced and pranced as footage from 'Snow White,' 'Dumbo,' 'Beauty and the Beast' and other Disney movies played on a massive backdrop, according to still photos shown on state TV." The performance was a personal project of the supreme leader, apparently: "Kim himself established the group that performed, and the changes may be a sign that he is seeking to carve out a different image from his father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il, by easing restrictions on Western culture, said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korean studies professor based in Seoul, South Korea." Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett also caught the performance, and reported Kim Jong Un had struck a conciliatory posture, saying "North Korea should 'boldly embrace' good things that come from abroad." Strange as the Disney show is, that quote suggests some hope for cooperation with the outside world from the leader who oversaw the North's failed rocket launch in April, which many saw as a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, and the fake ICBMs the North paraded later that month. Of course, Kim won't be making friends with Disney Corp. with his unauthorized use of its material.
So far we haven't found any video of the actual stage show, but The Telegraph has footage of the North Korean news report that covered it.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.