Cracks in North Korea's Secretive Regime: Is Kim Jong-Un Losing His Iron Grip?


On April 13 at 7:36 a.m., the North Korean government proudly launched a missile in celebration of the 100th birthday of the nation's founder. Insisting that the missile was a weather-related satellite intended to be sent into the atmosphere, the country's 28-year-old leader, Kim Jong-un, dismissed international condemnation. The launch had the potential to build the new leader's credibility within his party, and he even invited foreign media outlets, and journalists to cover the launch — giving them unprecedented access to the launch site while standing alongside North Korean scientists.

One specific turn of events that warrants more nuanced attention is that, for the first time among three failed missile launches, the government admitted their failure to their own country. On April 13, North Korea’s television programming was interrupted by breaking news where an anchorwoman said that the missile launch, “did not end in success.” Click here for live footage of people celebrating, interviews with North Korean civilians, and the anchorwoman’s broadcast.)  

The increasing exchange of information between North Koreans and outsiders is creating a more informed populace, and the government seems to be starting to act on this. Note the contrast in the way Kim Jong-Il’s government handled the past two failed missile launches; they outright lied to their people, and then diverted questions about the launch by blaring patriotic songs, and showing videos of Kim Il-Sung’s life. This time, things were different.