North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has reportedly banned Western-style dress and appearances including “mullet” hairstyles and “skinny” jeans because he does not want the country’s youth exposed to “decadent” influences.
According to state-run media, the Stalinist country will “collapse like a damp wall” if the “invasion of a capitalistic lifestyle” is allowed to permeate society, the Daily Mail reported Friday.
But the new edict, reportedly announced by Kim in December, comes with teeth: Anyone caught repeatedly flouting the strict fashion ban, which includes prohibitions on spiked-up or colorfully-dyed hair, body piercings, and other Western-style fashion trappings — will be remanded to labor camps.
In particular, anyone caught wearing a mullet-style haircut will be singled out for overtly severe punishment, the Daily Mail added.
“The hairstyle – which features a short cut at the front and a longer one at the back – became popular in the west last year, partly due to it being the cut of choice for Tiger King star Joe Exotic,” said the outlet.
State-run Rodong Sinmun, which is published by the ruling Worker’s Party, noted this week, “History teaches us a crucial lesson that a country can become vulnerable and eventually collapse like a damp wall regardless of its economic and defense power if we do not hold on to our own lifestyle.”
“We must be wary of even the slightest sign of the capitalistic lifestyle and fight to get rid of them,” the paper continued.
Separately, Metro reported that as part of the December edict from Kim, any North Korean who is caught with popular South Korean videos will also face harsh punitive measures.
All said, there are 15 approved hairstyles North Koreans can choose to wear, according to the legal code.
South Korea’s Yonghap News Agency, meanwhile, reported that the new dictums from Kim are part of a wider effort reemphasizing socialist and Marxist ideological principles in order to tighten his control over his people.
The implementation of strict new lifestyle rules comes amid an escalating arms race of sorts on the Korean peninsula, which remains the most heavily armed on the planet.
In March, North Korea conducted its first ballistic missile tests in more than a year — and the country’s first since Joe Biden took over as president — as South Korea continued to improve its conventional military capabilities, according to 38 North, a project of the Henry L. Stimson Center which focuses on geopolitical and security developments regarding the North.
The tests came after First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said Pyongyang did not feel any impetus to establish a dialogue yet with the new administration despite Washington’s attempts, adding that the White House’s effort was just a “delaying-time trick.”
“Kim Jong Un has probably judged that, at least in the near term, Biden is not interested in meeting the regime’s major demands, such as an end to America’s ‘hostile policy’ and security guarantees and sanctions relief for the North,” the outlet reported, adding that Kim’s regime has recently added improvements to its ballistic missile capabilities.
“As a result, the missile tests conducted in late March were seen as a signal to Washington that Pyongyang would continue developing its nuclear weapons program in the current ‘hostile’ environment,” 38 North added.
On Friday following a meeting at the White House with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Biden announced he would appoint Korean-born Sung Kim, a former State Department official, to be the administration’s special envoy to North Korea.
“We are both deeply concerned about the situation” on the Korean peninsula, the president said at a press conference, adding that “total denuclearization is our objective.”
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