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Crass commercials on TV? Not in Kim Jong-il's North Korea.

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SEOULNorth Korea’s leader Kim Jong-il reportedly has a new target: crass commercialism on the government’s central TV network.

Mr. Kim “was enraged,” according to a source quoted by South Korea’s Yonhap TV network, when he saw the North's network broadcasting commercials for state enterprises – and wanted to know where they came from.

Kim said he believed the commercials “were the prototype of China’s early reforms,” said the source, and feared they might lead to Chinese-style capitalism. His remarks seemed to indicate his deep suspicion of the type of reforms carried out by China in recent years as the Communist giant shifts toward capitalism.

Among the commercials that reportedly upset the North Korean leader was one for a beer with the brand name of Taedonggang, meaning the Taedong River, which runs through the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. Appropriately, the commercials featured frothy mugs of the brew, hailed as “the Pride of Pyongyang."

The mugs were in the hands of attractive women, but it seems unlikely Kim found their presence an affront to taste. They were dressed in traditional Korean Hanbok garb, a conservative national dress style often worn by North Korean women.


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