On This Day
May 5, 2020 – Pyongyang, DPR Korea: The Russian Federation awarded North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un a medal commemorating the 75th anniversary of Russia’s Victory Day, May 9, 1945, and the end of WWII in Europe.
Accepting the medal on behalf of Chairman Kim was North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son Kwon. The medal came replete with a certificate from Russian President Vladimir Putin who acknowledged the North Korean Leader’s work in preserving the legacy of the 1,375 Soviet soldiers who died on the Korea peninsula during WWII.
Pictured Above: The Cemetery of Soviet Citizens in the area of Sadon
At the ceremony, Russian and DPRK officials reiterated their commitment to “fulfill the promises” made during the Kim-Putin summit held on April 25, 2019, in Vladivostok, Russia.
President Kim Il Sung, Chairman Kim’s grandfather, and founder of the DPRK began WWII as a resistance fighter in Japanese-occupied Manchuria, and returned to Korea as a Soviet officer in 1945. The Soviet Union played a crucial role in raising Kim Il Sung’s political profile and installing him as head of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which was formally founded in 1948.
The ceremony occurred following Kim Jong Un’s widely reported 20-day absence from public view. Chairman Kim’s absence kicked off hundreds of news reports rife with speculation as to his whereabouts and well being. The speculation was kicked off by an erroneous report in the pro-regime change outlet Daily NK which said Chairman Kim had been hospitalized following his last public appearance on April 11.
Suspicions were further raised when the North Korean Leader was absent from the country’s biggest holiday, The Day of the Sun, on April 15. The speculation snowballed as a variety of thin sources offered differing theories such as that Chairman Kim had been injured at a missile test and another, which said he died during a botched heart procedure. Other sources said that the disappearance was not abnormal, considering the unknown extent to which COVID-19 had impacted the country. Citing satellite images, the sources said that he appeared to be at his coastal compound in Wonsan on the country’s west coast. Unsurprisingly, most articles which did not engage in conjecture about Kim’s health were mostly ignored or buried.
Pictured Above: Kim Jong Un attending the opening of Sunchon Phosphate Fertilizer Factory on May 1st, 2020
Flying in the face of rumors, Chairman Kim appeared alive and well at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Sunchon Phosphate Fertilizer Factory on May 1. While the majority of North Korea watchers have accepted it as rebuke of the rumors about Kim’s health, mainstream sources, such as the NY Post, have begun peddling conspiracy theories that the man who appeared at the ceremony was not Kim Jong Un, but a body double.
Only in the world of North Korea reporting could the opening of a fertilizer plant be viewed with such intrigue!