Dictator Kim Jong-un will be "thrilled" with the depiction of South Korea in Netflix's smash hit series Squid Game, North Korea experts claim.
The show, which paints a bleak picture of an ultra-competitive capitalist society south of the border, will delight the Pyongyang leadership, according to Michael Madden, a nonresident fellow at US political think tank The Stinson Centre.
“Kim’s got to be thrilled at how South Korea is being depicted to the world,” he told the New York Post.
“He’s always railing about the influence of the West and the consumerism and of South Korean and American society. He’s got to be loving ‘Squid Game.'”
The game features hundreds of debt-ridden contestants competing in children's games for the chance to win a huge cash prize – but if they lose, there are deadly consequences.
Kim tightened laws against “decadent” capitalist fashion such as skinny jeans and mullet haircuts in December 2020, and offenders have been warned that they could be thrown into labour camps if they disobey.
The dictator likes to present himself as a nationalist, out to preserve traditional North Korean values, even though he is known to secretly enjoy Western luxuries himself.
Some have attributed his large waistline to this, with rumours circulating that he became addicted to Swiss cheese while studying in Europe.
The Rodong Sinmun, an official newspaper of the North's ruling Worker's Party, said: "History teaches us a crucial lesson that a country can become vulnerable and eventually collapse like a damp wall regardless of its economic and defence power if we do not hold on to our own lifestyle."
Gordon Chang, author of “Losing South Korea”, warned that Squid Game, along with works such as Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 film Parasite, threatened to undermine South Koreans’ faith in the Seoul government and drive public opinion towards reunification with the North.
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He said: "The filmmakers are also leftist and they’re from a generation in South Korea that hates America.
"They’re made South Korea look horrific – even though it’s really not that bad — and the North Koreans love this and are taking advantage of it. They all think they’re involved in this existential struggle."
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