North Korea has unveiled a new bronze statue of President Kim Jong-Il, sparking renewed rumors that he is close to death.
Photos of the new statue have been published in the North Korean People’s Army newspaper with the headline “Biggest Benefit, Highest Glory of the Strong Revolutionary Military of Mount Baekdu.”
The statue will be set alongside his father’s statue, the “Eternal Leader” Kim Il-Sung, who died in 1994. Mount Baekdu holds very significant importance to the North Korean people, as it was the base camp for the Communist’s revolution against the Japanese in the 1930s, as well as being the birth place of Kim Jung-Il, although many pundits believe the “Dear Leader” was actually born in a refugee camp in Russia.
The most significant issue regarding the statue is that Kim Jung-Il has refused the erection of statues of his likeness in the past because it signifies the end of a regime.
“This statue means that Kim Jong-Il is passing into history and legend in North Korea and I’m more convinced than ever that his successor will be announced soon,” said Tokyo’s Waseda University Professor Toshimitsu Shigemura, an expert on North Korean.
“A strong trait of Confucianism still runs through Korean society and it would run counter to that to erect a statue in one’s own likeness while you were still leader,” he said.