Last week we met Donald Trump and stamps where he appeared. This week we’ll switch to another side of the Pacific Ocean and take a look what is going on in North Korea. Let’s rock!
Who is Kim Jong Un?
I guess you could hardly miss this guy. Since he became almost everything possible in North Korea there are many theories built about him. So, we’re not 100% sure about his age, it was questionable if he’s married or not (and to whom), does he have children or not, has he killed his family members and officials and if so, how many of them and in what way. There are many rumors and you can’t be 100% sure what is propaganda and what is the fact. Same as with Donald, I won’t go into the direction of guessing what is true or not. I’ll go only with the facts we know for sure.
Kim Jong Un in the current leader of North Korea with titles like Chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Chairman of the WPK (Workers’ Party of Korea), Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK, Supreme Commander of the KPA (Korean People’s Army). Same as Donald, he’s 3rd in the line. While Donald is a 3rd generation businessman in his family, Kim inherited the state after his father, Kim Jong ll who died on 17 December 2011. And he came to power after his father Kim Il Sung. Yup, there were and still are 3 Kims, one after another and they are all members of the same family. But that’s pretty much-known fact.
What is going on in North Korea?
I guess nobody could answer this for sure. At this moment we mostly see what is going out of North Korea and that are missiles. Nuclear tests are so far done inside the country and underground.
To understand the North Korea, we must know that Kim Il Sung came to power after overthrowing the Japanese rule in 1945. Korea was then divided by the 38th parallel as the result of negotiation between the USA and the USSR. What might seem as a good idea, then led to problems we still have today. Korea was meant to be unified but that never happened. That led to Koran war (1950 – 1953) that resulted in millions of killed and wounded on both sides and establishing DMZ. Both countries, North Korea and South Korea, hope for reunification, but both would love it under their terms.
Today, South Korea is one of the most developed countries in the World while North Korea is lagging far behind South Korea. We can hear a lot of disturbing news originating from North Korea and the economic situation seems not to be even near to good there. But still, it’s hard to know the exact situation because most of the information we get is either propaganda from one or another side.
Both countries have really large and powerful militaries. While South relies more on technology and its’ allies, the power of North lies in numbers and WMD, especially their nuclear arsenal. I really hope there won’t be any conflict on the Korean peninsula because this one would be even worse than previous one. And, as always, civilians on both sides would mostly pay the toll.
Stamps in North Korea
In the previous article, we’ve seen that Donald Trump-related stamps issued by private companies. Unlike them, stamps with North Korean motifs are issued in North Korea. A number of them, maybe even the most, feature propaganda motifs like state leaders, memorial stamps related to the Korean War and military, stamps presenting future plans and achievements, etc. To be fair, there are also other stamps with motifs including animals, sports, cars, and trains.
Why are rockets and nuclear bombs so important?
I’ll keep it really short. If you have the bomb and the capability to deliver it where you want to, your seat at the negotiation table is much more comfortable. Kim Jong Un is well aware of that, but also is the leadership of the USA. I guess that the entire “show” with rockets, nuclear tests, aircraft carriers and bombers flying over is nothing more than showing muscles. Both sides have a lot to lose in the scenario of all-out war and both sides are also well aware of that. Luckily for us, so far, we can see only tests and a lot of propaganda mostly in the form of speeches and videos. But stamps also have their role in this situation. This year, North Korea issued stamps to mark the successful launch of missiles.
Before we do anything else, let’s mention, that the currency used in North Korea is North Korean won (₩) – KPW. South Korea also uses won, but it’s South Korean won (₩) – KRW.
We’ll see missiles soon, but before we do, let’s take a look how the new leader was introduced to his duty on stamps.
Kim Jong Il died on December 17, 2011. Is there a better way to introduce the future leader than with a stamp featuring both of them together? And so, it was done that way on December 29, 2011. Because nothing says better “this is your new leader” then a photo with the beloved recently deceased leader. To me, it seems that this stamp tried to present new leader in a more casual way.
Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Il – issued December 29, 2011
(denomination 70 ₩)
There were few more stamps commemorated to the two previously mentioned Kims, before the 2-stamps sheet was issued on July 20, 2012. These two were issued to commemorate the 4th Conference of the Workers Party and once again the previous and the current leaders of the state came in a pair. This time, Kim Jong Un was much more serious than on previous stamps.
Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un – issued July 20, 2012
(denomination 30 ₩)
The same year was the year to commemorate the 66th Anniversary of the Korean Children’s Union and this was the chance to show new leader much more casual once again. Motif on this stamp was a picture of the leader leading children to the camera, probably symbolizing brighter future.
There were a lot of stamps between these presented above and rocket-related stamps but I’ll skip these. In 2017 it was time for the serious business in the air, but also on stamps. “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Same is with rockets. If nobody sees them, what’s the point!? To ensure that everybody can see them, even on stamps, in 2017 North Korea issued a series of stamps and sheets in order to celebrate the successful launch of the Hwasong-14 (Mars-14) ICBM. In order to inform everybody of missile capabilities, these sheets also included text in English.
Signing an order to launch (lucky guess) – August 8, 2017
(denomination 50 ₩)
“that feeling when you don’t have a right to fail, and you haven’t” – August 8, 2017
(denomination 50 ₩)
Launch – from preparation to flight (lucky guess) – August 8, 2017
(denomination 10 ₩, 40 ₩, 70 ₩ and 100 ₩)
And some statistics
(denomination 50 ₩)
“nothing says party like some good fireworks”
(denomination 50 ₩)
Today we saw missiles up close. Who knows what’s next. Feel free to check next week.
Continue reading: Donald Trump & Kim Jong Un & Rockets #1
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