Disney figures paraded in North Korea

Mouse House icons popular in country

BEIJING — Mickey Mouse, Dumbo, Snow White, Winnie the Pooh and other Disney figures joined the pantheon of great revolutionary icons in North Korea on Friday in a concert for leader Kim Jong-un.

Performers dressed as some of the U.S.’ animated heroes for the performance, while Disney movies were shown on a giant backdrop, all captured in photographs on state TV, the Associated Press reported from the capital, Pyongyang.

The performance was staged by the Moranbong band, which was making its debut after being assembled by Kim, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

Kim took over from his father, Kim Jong-il, who died in December. He is in his late 20s and is believed to be trying to update the image of the secretive North.

Normally the U.S. is the bad guy in North Korean iconography. The North fought against the U.S. and its South Korean allies in 1950-53, and then-President George W. Bush famously included the North on his “Axis of Evil” list of international pariahs.

Disney characters have been popular among North Korean children for several years, and school bags, pencil cases and other items imported from China often feature Mickey Mouse and other Disney icons. Many of the stories have been translated into Korean for children.

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