Sunday August 25, 2019
Home Lead Story Face Mask of ...

Face Mask of Kim Jong-un Stirs Controversy

Kim has led North Korea since the death of its former dictator, his father Kim Jong-il, in 2011

0
//
Kim Jong-un
Kim Jong-un face mask stirs controversy.

A South Korean fashion and cosmetics firm has stirred controversy with a facial mask featuring Kim Jong-un prompting many stores to pull the product of the shelves.

The so-called “nuke masks” were created by 5149, a South Korean fashion and cosmetics company. It said it has sold more than 25,000 “unification moisture nuclear masks” since June, the BBC reported.

Many South Korean stores, though, halted the sales amid a public backlash and concerns over the masks’ legality.

In South Korea it is illegal to speak favourably of the North Korean government, though the law is rarely enforced.

Dozens of Koreans have posted pictures of themselves on social media with the masks, which cost 4,000 won, the BBC said.

Propaganda-style slogans claim the masks contain mineral water from Mount Paektu, the sacred, active volcano, which is the birthplace of Dangun, founder of the first Korean kingdom more than 4,000 years ago, according to Korean mythology.

“Personally, I don’t like merchandise promoting a certain political agenda,” Irene Kim, a South Korean skincare expert, told the South China Morning Post.

“A few years ago, North Korea was the largest threat to our country… Kim Jong-un was seen as a dictator and a tyrant who would stop at nothing to disrupt world peace, now he’s become the face of a popular face mask,” she added.

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un.

The North Korean leader and his regime have been criticised by the UN for “systematic, widespread” human rights abuses.

Both North and South Korea are still technically at war, but leaders from both countries attended talks this year over denuclearisation.

Also Read- 400 mn People Using Facebook Watch Monthly

In an interview with the New York Times, 5149 CEO Kwak Hyeon-ju said she wanted the masks to celebrate the “once in a lifetime” Korean summits held earlier this year.

Kim has led North Korea since the death of its former dictator, his father Kim Jong-il, in 2011.

The country’s communist regime has been criticised by the UN and human rights groups for “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations”. (IANS)

Next Story

North Korea: ‘Multiple Rocket Launchers’ On Kim’s Order Confirms State Media

Last month, North Korea said it tested a “tactical guided weapon.” Commercial satellite images have also detected increased activity at some North Korean nuclear and satellite launch facilities in recent weeks.

0
Nporth Korea
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits Kumyagang Power Station No. 2 in North Korea in this May 4, 2019, photo supplied by the Korean Central News Agency. VOA

North Korea tested “multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons,” state media confirmed Saturday, the first comments on a launch that has further raised military tensions.

Kim Jong Un personally “gave an order of firing” of the projectiles into the sea off North Korea’s east coast, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported.

“The purpose of the drill was to estimate and inspect the operating ability and the accuracy of striking duty performance of large-caliber long-range multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons,” KCNA reported.

The test is North Korea’s latest attempt to gradually increase pressure on and signal its frustration with the United States and South Korea, since the breakdown of nuclear talks.

Pyongyang’s statement did not contain any explicit threats or even mentions of the United States or South Korea. Seoul on Friday condemned the launch as needlessly provocative and a violation of an inter-Korean military agreement.

North Korean military conducts a "strike drill" for multiple launchers and tactical guided weapon into the East Sea during a military drill in North Korea, in this May 4, 2019, photo supplied by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
North Korean military conducts a “strike drill” for multiple launchers and tactical guided weapon into the East Sea during a military drill in North Korea, in this May 4, 2019, photo supplied by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). VOA

Missile or projectile?

There has been some confusion about the exact type of weapons North Korea launched. South Korea’s defense ministry initially characterized the launch as a “short-range missile” test. Later statements referred to the weapons as “projectiles.”

A picture published Saturday by the North’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper suggested that at least one of the projectiles launched was in fact a short-range missile.

A man watches a television screen showing a news report on North Korea firing several short-range projectiles from its east coast, on a street in Tokyo, May 4, 2019.
A man watches a television screen showing a news report on North Korea firing several short-range projectiles from its east coast, on a street in Tokyo, May 4, 2019. VOA

Under a series of U.N. Security Council resolutions, North Korea is banned from conducting medium- or long-range ballistic missile launches. Seoul says the weapons traveled from 70 to 200 kilometers, which would be classified as a short-range test.

North Korea has not carried out a missile test since November 2017. The self-imposed moratorium has helped facilitate nuclear talks with U.S. President Donald Trump.

In Kim’s view, the moratorium, which was never formalized, does not cover short-range tests. But by launching multiple short-range projectiles, Kim may be attempting to test the limits of how Washington interprets that moratorium.

Last month, North Korea said it tested a “tactical guided weapon.” Commercial satellite images have also detected increased activity at some North Korean nuclear and satellite launch facilities in recent weeks.

Trump: Deal still possible

So far, Trump has played down the provocations. But he has also not signaled a change in his negotiating stance. Reacting to the latest test, Trump said he still believes a nuclear deal with North Korea is possible.

Kim, who wants the removal of international sanctions hurting his economy, has said he will give the United States until the end of the year to become more flexible in the nuclear talks. Trump says he will not relax sanctions until Kim agrees to completely abandon his nuclear program.

Deadlocked talks

Trump and Kim have held two summits over the past year. At the first meeting, in Singapore, both men agreed to work “toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” But U.S. officials later acknowledged the two sides never agreed on what that means.

At the second meeting in Vietnam, Trump rejected Kim’s offer to dismantle a part of North Korea’s nuclear program in exchange for major sanctions relief. Since that meeting, the two sides have struggled to even hold talks, U.S. officials say.

FILE - U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun arrives at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Feb. 3, 2019.
U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun arrives at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Feb. 3, 2019. VOA

Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special envoy for North Korea, will visit South Korea and Seoul in coming days to help advance the talks.

Also Read: New Hope for Ethiopian Journalists to Commemorate World Press Freedom Day

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whose liberal government has prioritized engagement with the North, says he is willing to hold a fourth summit with Kim anytime, anywhere.

Last week, Japan’s conservative prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said he is willing to meet with Kim “unconditionally and talk with him frankly with an open mind.” (IANS)