Photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows Kim Jong Un (C), Jang Chang-ha (L rear), Chief of the Academy of National Defense, and Kim Jong-sik (R), the Deputy Director of the Munitions Industry Department, during the test-launch of a new type of inter-continental ballistic missile Hwasongpho-17 of the DPRK strategic forces that was conducted on 24 March 2022

North Korea may have launched its largest intercontinental ballistic missile – and put the world on notice.

But it’s the way the news was relayed on state-run television that has caused widespread bafflement.

Instead of triumphant – but staid – tones, this time North Koreans were treated to what they are not supposed to have: a Hollywood-style movie.

It had it all – Kim Jong-un in leather jacket and dark glasses, video effects and dramatic music.

North Korean Central Television usually broadcasts a repetitive diet of Kim family propaganda, alongside military band concerts and feature films about patriotism and feats of labour.

Anything that deviates from this sticks out like a sore thumb.

That’s why the coverage of the launch of Hwasong-17 was so different.

Notionally it came in a news bulletin, but the style was anything but.

Viewers were given 15 minutes of video effects, staged drama, and the sight of Kim Jong-un whipping off his dark glasses to look directly into the camera as if to say, “Let’s do this”.

The stirring music and multiple shots of the missile launch were interspersed with the triumphant tones of veteran newsreader Ri Chun-hee, known in the West as North Korea’s “Pink Lady”.

 

 

 

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