- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
Want some fries with your Juche?
Attempting to forge a new image for himself and his country, North Korea’s youthful supreme leader Kim Jong Un is allowing women to wear pants, platform shoes and earrings, making more mobile phones available, endorsing previously banned foods like pizza, French fries and hamburgers — and he’s giving kids free trips to zoos and amusement parks.[…]
Kim, educated in Switzerland during his early teens, has initiated numerous policy changes to allow people more freedom and entertainment in their daily lives. North Korean state TV last month showed an image of Kim in a straw hat with a huge smile paying a visit to Mangyongdae Amusement Park and pointing at its roller coaster.
North Korea specialist Dong Yong-Sueng tells ABC news that lifting the ban on women wearing pants and platform shoes has ushered in a "fashion revolution" in the country.
A boy ruler trying to win over his impoverished nation with cheesburgers and amusement park rides almost seems like a parody of itself, but it does seem like the restrictions on information and consumer goods flowing into the North are easing somewhat.
The photo above shows Kim touring the previously discussed Pyongyang dolphin aquarium.