Kim Ki-nam, North Korean propaganda chief who shaped dynasty’s personality cult, dies aged 94

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Kim Ki-nam, the propaganda chief who served all three generations of North Korean leaders and cemented their political legitimacy, has died, official media have said.

Kim Ki-nam died on Tuesday aged 94 from multiple organ failure, official KCNA news agency reported.

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, visited the funeral hall on Wednesday to pay tribute “with bitter grief over the loss of a veteran revolutionary who had remained boundlessly loyal” to the country until the very end, it said.

The agency said Kim Jong-un would lead the state funeral committee for Kim Ki-nam, who will be buried on Thursday.

Kim Ki-nam is credited with masterminding the cult of the Kim family dynasty. State media described him as “a veteran of our party and the revolution, a prestigious theoretician and a prominent political activist”.

The ruling Kim family are revered in the North as the “Paektu bloodline”, named after the country’s highest mountain and supposed birthplace of the late leader Kim Jong-il.

In the 1970s, Kim Ki-nam was in charge of Pyongyang’s official mouthpiece, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper, KCNA said. He became head of the North’s propaganda department in 1985, according to South Korean government data. He retired in 2017 and Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, took over.

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