Kim Jong Un named runner-up TIME Person of the Year 2017
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Kim Jong Un named runner-up TIME Person of the Year 2017

NORTH KOREA’s eccentric dictator Kim Jong Un was named runner-up in TIME Magazine’s 2017 Person of the Year, along with US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Person of the Year was awarded to “The Silence Breakers” – thousands of women in the US and globally who went public this year with their stories of being sexually harassed and assaulted.

The cover image includes photos of celebrities Taylor Swift and Ashley Judd, as well as a faceless woman whose identity was concealed because of fear of its impact on her family.

The 33-year-old leader of North Korea, meanwhile, came in as a runner-up. TIME called him “the youthful, totalitarian leader of the pariah state, unveiled an advanced capacity to threaten the American home­land with a nuclear-tipped long-range missile”.

Last week, Kim Jong Un’s regime declared nuclear statehood after the successful launch of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) which it claimed was capable of hitting anywhere in the United States.

SEE ALSO: Party in Pyongyang: Rallies across North Korea celebrate nuclear statehood

“Kim has the world’s attention not only because of the threat to the US,” wrote TIME. “Henry Kissinger wrote that allowing North Korea to continue with nuclear weapons ‘will seriously diminish the credibility of the American nuclear umbrella in Asia.’”

Throughout 2017 Kim has exchanged insults and threats with fellow runner-up President Trump, who TIME said had “changed the presidency” in the US.


Trump and Xi attend a welcoming ceremony in Beijing, China, on Nov 9, 2017. Source: Reuters/Thomas Peter

SEE ALSO: Trump to ‘take care’ of North Korea as US launches largest ever drills with South

“The passing feuds, the wild accusations, the crude and divisive language­—­no other Commander in Chief has broadcast his outbursts in such an unfiltered torrent,” read its report. Trump most recently called Kim “short and fat” on Twitter, and has taken to referring to him as “Little Rocket Man”.

Xi, widely seen as the country’s most powerful since Mao Zedong, in 2017 “strengthened his hold over the world’s most populous nation” and is pushing China into the “top spot” in global politics.

“Donald Trump posted an unexpected vacancy, and China readied its application for the slot.”