The man who dared to ride piggyback on North Korea’s Kim Jong Un | world-news | Hindustan Times
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The man who dared to ride piggyback on North Korea’s Kim Jong Un

North Korea observers say the picture was released with the aim of boosting Kim Jong Un’s image as a man of the people.

world Updated: Mar 24, 2017 20:54 IST
Kartikeya Ramanathan
Kim Jong Un
The officer is thought to have played a key role in a successful rocket engine test.

Who is the man who has dared to ride piggyback on North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong Un, known for summarily ordering the executions of aides he doesn’t like

Last weekend, Pyongyang claimed it had successfully tested a rocket engine. The announcement, made by the official Korean Central News Agency, was accompanied by the usual pictures of Kim being congratulated by umpteen officials.

However, this time, there was a slight difference — an elderly officer climbed on to Kim’s back, and the supreme leader seemed to be giving him a piggyback ride.

Kim is notorious for keeping his subordinates at arm’s length. He has had relatives brutally murdered for seemingly trivial crimes. Then how did this mysterious officer find the gumption to climb on to his leader’s back?

The BBC, quoting North Korea observers, said the officer is thought to have played a key role in the engine test, and most likely interacted with Kim previously.

The observers say the picture was released with the aim of boosting Kim’s image as a man of the people.

“We know he is very strict with elites when they don’t obey his orders. But in general towards the people his propaganda image is friendly and convivial,” Jae-Cheon Lim of the Korea University in Seoul was quoted as saying by BBC.

North Korean observer Michael Madden said that the image may also have something to do with football — when a team scores a goal, jubilant teammates usually celebrate with the scorer by climbing onto his or her back.

“When a test is conducted, civilian and military personnel are told to regard it as a sports competition — they win some, and lose some,” he said.