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Face of NK Heir Apparent Kim Jong Un Made Public

Posted October. 01, 2010 12:00,   


North Korea in a surprise move Thursday released for the first time the face of its leader Kim Jong Il`s youngest son and heir apparent, Kim Jong Un.

The state-run (North) Korean Central Television showed footage including the junior Kim accompanying his father while reporting on the rare conference of the North Korean Workers’ Party. Prior to the broadcast, the party’s newspaper Rodong Sinmun (Labor Daily) also released a group photo of leading party members, including Kim Jong Un sitting on the second seat left of his father.

Thursday marked the first time for Pyongyang to release the junior Kim’s photo and video. It came two days after North Korean media mentioned Kim Jong Un’s name for the first time in a report on his appointment as a four-star general.

Considering that North Korean media have traditionally shunned releasing video of their supreme leader in real time, Thursday’s video and photos were provided unusually quickly.

In 1980, Kim Jong Il made his face known to the outside world after the party’s conference, declaring he would succeed his father as the North’s leader. Though he was named the heir apparent in 1974, his picture was first released on the second page of the Rodong Sinmun on Oct. 12, 1980.

In the photos and video, Kim Jong Un looked chubby and resembled his grandfather Kim Il Sung more than his father. The junior Kim’s hairstyle also looked similar to that of a young Kim Il Sung.

A South Korean official attributed the junior Kim’s appearance to the North’s politics of image and image manipulation, saying Pyongyang has repeatedly aired documentaries on Kim Il Sung to remind North Koreans what their late founder looked like when he was young.

The official said Pyongyang has made propaganda efforts to make North Koreans feel as if Kim Il Sung has been reincarnated when they saw photos of Kim Jong Un.

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