Kim Jong-un fury: North Korea leader rages at officials over hospital delay in fiery rant

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The clips, screened by North Korea’s state broadcaster KCTV, are introduced by the nation’s well-known female announcer, along with drone footage showing the progress which has been made on Pyong Yang General Hospital. Kim, smoking a cigarette and looked distinctly overweight, aggressively gesticulates at the officials, many of whom stand around him taking meticulous notes.

In other shots, he sits at the head of a table, gesturing and appearing distinctly disgruntled.

A report by the 38 North website, which shared the footage, suggested Kim was likely unhappy because the project was unlikely to be finished on time.

Analysts Martyn Williams and Peter Makowsky wrote: “While Kim praised workers during his visit, he was unhappy with the officials in charge of the project.

“Despite the fast pace of construction, it appears unlikely the hospital will be able to open to patients by October 10 – a deadline timed to match the 75th anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

“The outside of the hospital will likely be finished and perhaps some elements of the interior, but it’s unlikely to open until 2021.”

Professor James Hoare, of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, stressed the body language was not in itself all that unusual.

He told “I think this is a typical Korean man in authority. I have seen it in the South and in the North.

“The North tends to use a more formal form of the language but the body language is the same North and South.”

As the report says, the hospital appears to be behind – what was possibly an impossible – schedule. So he is making his displeasure known

Professor Jim Hoare

Nevertheless, Prof Hoare added: “As the report says, the hospital appears to be behind – what was possibly an impossible – schedule.

“So he is making his displeasure known. There are similar shots of his father.”

Journalist Roy Calley, who wrote about his experiences of visiting the Hermit State in his book, Look With Your Eyes and Tell the World, told “The images of the hospital and the footage of him were shot at completely different times.

“Being a TV producer means I can see immediately.

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“His body language is normal really. The North Korean way of acting and talking is aggressive to our western eyes, but it’s entirely normal there.

“I’m not sure how many words are in their language, but whereas we have around 500,000 in English, they will probably have far fewer, so it’s away of getting a point across.”

Framing the footage in the context of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Mr Calley, who has previously voiced his scepticism about Kim’s health, added: “What strikes me is his Trump behaviour of being the only person in the group who doesn’t feel the need to wear a mask.

“At least that proves the footage was this year anyway.

“They as a family are omnipresent, so they don’t NEED a mask. They are better and superior to the people because they are idols.

“They won’t wear masks as it would give an impression of being mere mortals.”

He added: “I described in my book how these things are done purely for TV purposes. His grandfather was very adept at it.

“Later it will be described as the hospital being built in record time after his visit exhorting the workers to try harder, but the reality is that they will be neither faster nor slower. They will complete it when it’s completed.”

The rumours concerning Kim’s health surfaced in April, with suggestions he was either dead or in a vegetative state after botched heart surgery.

He was absent from public view for two weeks before footage of him opening a fertiliser factory in Pyong Yang was broadcast by KCTV at the start of May – although sceptics pointed out there was no way to date the clip.

There have also been persistent suggestions that his sister, Kim Yo-jong, is being groomed to succeed him having been promoted to the North Korean politburo in a clear indication of her growing influence.

Kim Jong-un is also likely to be the driving force behind a bizarre “war on sex” in response to apparent concerns about immorality among teenagers, while the US-backed Radio Free Asia last week reported the authorities were launching a brutal crackdown on anyone caught watching television programmes and movies from the South, as well as listening to K-pop.

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