An 11-year-old North Korean YouTuber using her channel to give a rosy picture of life under Kim Jong Un is part of the country’s elite, according to a report on her background.
The specialist outlet NK News reported in 2022 that the girl, who calls herself Song A, is the child of a diplomat who was posted to its embassy in London.
Song A built a channel with 21,000 subscribers as one of several YouTubers experts say are filming propaganda for North Korea, as Insider’s Matthew Loh reported.
Song A’s videos give a seemingly idyllic picture of the North Korean capital Pyongyang, featuring amusement parks, eating ice cream, and reading “Harry Potter” books.
But the image is misleading. Perks like hers are available only to “special people in a special class,” said Park Seong-cheol, a researcher at the Database Centre for North Korean Human Rights, in an article by CNN.
Per NK News’s investigation, Song A is exactly that. Her father is Im Jun Hyok, the report said, a diplomat who worked at the North Korean embassy in London until 2016.
That would likely explain her pronounced British accent and fluency in English, which Song A vaguely attributes in her videos to the efforts of her mother.
North Korea only allows its most trusted officials to serve abroad due to the high risk they will defect, like one of Im’s colleagues at the London embassy, Thae Yong Ho.
Thae, now a South Korean politician, spoke to NK News and said Song A lived in England until her family returned to North Korea when she was 7 years old.
NK News said her grandfather Pak Myong Guk, has a senior position in North Korea’s foreign ministry and that her great-grandfather, Ri Ul Sol, was an elite military commander who guarded the Kim family.
As Loh noted in his report for Insider, Song A’s eyes often dart away from the camera, as though looking to someone for guidance, and her lines appear scripted.
Focusing on YouTube appears consistent with a new push by North Korean state media to reach Western audiences in new ways, experts told CNN for its report.
Insider could not reach anybody connected to Song A’s channel for comment. YouTube itself did not immediately respond to a request.