Kim Jong Un’s 40th Birthday: Unprecedented Silence Raises Speculation
In an unexpected turn of events, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un marked his 40th birthday with no announced public celebrations, raising speculation and questions about the reasons behind the unprecedented silence. Since taking power in late 2011, Kim Jong Un, the third generation of his family to rule North Korea, has refrained from officially celebrating his birthday, unlike his late father Kim Jong Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung.
Some observers speculate that Kim may consider himself relatively young or believes he needs more significant achievements before holding lavish birthday festivities. Others suggest that the absence of public celebrations could be linked to concerns about unwanted attention to his late Japan-born mother, Ko Yong Hui.
Despite the lack of official birthday celebrations, North Korea’s state news agency published a lengthy article praising Kim’s guidance of major construction projects over the past decade. However, the article made no mention of his birthday, leaving room for further speculation.
Kim Jong Un’s pursuit of a larger nuclear arsenal has led to punishing U.S.-led sanctions and economic challenges, with the vow that North Korea would “never have to tighten their belts again” remaining unfulfilled. The geopolitical landscape in the region remains tense, with recent artillery barrages into the sea escalating tensions with South Korea.