Go to contents

Photos Raise Suspicion Over NK Leader’s Health

Posted November. 04, 2008 09:27,   


Photos of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il watching a soccer match released Sunday have raised further suspicion over his health.

Dong-A Ilbo photojournalist Byeon Yeong-uk said yesterday, “The pictures released by the North look different from those generally taken in the nation. Paradoxically, they look too natural to rule out that they were not taken artificially.”

An expert on photos of Kim, Byeon received a master’s at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul by analyzing “No. 1 Photos,” or pictures containing the faces of the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung and his successor.

Byeon also published the book “Kim Jong Il.JPG” this year.

The photojournalist said the photo of Kim smiling on a sofa released Sunday is different from most “No. 1 Photos.”

“Generally, what is important is who appears with the North Korean leader in ‘No. 1 Photos’ since the pictures showing North Korean leaders represent the nation’s history,” he said. “In recent ‘No. 1 Photos,’ however, attendees’ faces look shaded. That’s because of a strong flash used to capture the colors of foliage seen in the background.”

In another photo showing Kim giving orders to high-ranking officials, they simply grin instead of holding notebooks and pens in their hands.

“Their grinning in the photo means the picture was taken in an artificial setting,” Byeon said. “A picture in which Kim sits on a sofa shows the left side of Kim’s face and another in which Kim stands on his own feet shows the right side of his face. North Korea seems to have released the two photos to show that Kim did not receive brain surgery.”

North Korea apparently took photos at a soccer stadium this time, as it did Oct. 4, to prevent general soldiers or factory workers notice Kim’s abnormal health condition.

Some say North Korean officials hosted the game as a chance to refresh Kim, who probably felt uncomfortable in the hospital after brain surgery, and prove he has no health problems at the same time.