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Kim Jong Un shaping Pyongyang's new image by allowing women to wear 'platform shoes and earrings'

July 3, 2012 - Washington

In an attempt to forge a new image for himself and his country, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is allowing women to wear pants, platform shoes and earrings, reducing restrictions imposed on his people.

The North Korean leader is also making more mobile phones available, endorsing previously banned foods like pizza, French fries and hamburgers, and is giving kids free trips to zoos and amusement parks.

He has been following in the footsteps of his late grandfather, the country's founder Kim Il Sung, by announcing his plans to create a "children's heaven nation."

"The powerful and prosperous Korea of the future in which you will be the masters, will be a most powerful country where every home will be full of laughter and everybody lives in harmony," ABC News quoted the premier as saying as he announced to a crowd of 20,000 children invited to Pyongyang at a ceremony marking the 66th anniversary of the Korean Children's Union earlier this month, which is a state-run organization for nine to 14-year-olds.

According to the report, Kim Jong Un, who officially assumed the title of supreme leader on December 28 last year following the state funeral of his father Kim Jong Il, wants to establish an image that harkens back to what some North Koreans nostalgically remember as better times in the 1970s under his grandfather, a time when the country was economically backed by the Soviet Union with sufficient food to feed the nation.

Kim Jong Un's father, who had ruled since1994, was seen as a strong but cold leader, and the image of the supreme leader has significance in a tightly controlled society where people often refer to their leaders as the father of the nation with "everlasting love," as well as other fanciful names like the sun, universe, eternal general, or dear leader.

However, Kim, educated in Switzerland during his early teens, has initiated numerous policy changes to allow people more freedom and entertainment in their daily lives and has publicly sought to embrace the youthful energy of the country.


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