October 01, 2010 09:19
North Korea's state-run media have released the first photograph of Kim Jong-un, the son and heir of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
Thursday morning's edition of the Rodong Sinmun, the official daily of the Workers Party, was the first to show the picture of the chubby 27-year old seated between his father and other high-ranking officials and clad in a dark communist-style suit, followed by the Korean Central News Agency and state television.
Kim Jong-un was given the title of four-star military general on Tuesday and appointed vice chairman of North Korea's powerful Central Military Commission. Great secrecy has surrounded his rapid rise since South Korea's National Intelligence Service mentioned his name for the first time in the National Assembly in June last year.
Kim Jong-un resembles his grandfather Kim Il-sung even more than his father. Compared to a picture taken a year and four months ago that the Chosun Ilbo obtained, Jong-un appears to have taken deliberate steps to increase the resemblance, such as changing his hairstyle.
All the other officials in the photograph are wearing military uniform or suit and ties, but Kim junior is in a Mao suit. Kim Il-sung wore such a suit it in the late 1950s when he went around the country meeting the masses, said a high-ranking North Korean defector surnamed Choi. "The young Kim Jong-un has no achievements or credentials to boast of, so it looks like he's at least trying to score some points by looking like his grandfather," Choi added.
One source familiar with North Korean affairs, said, "Look at how Kim Jong-un applauds at the Workers Party convention. Other participants applaud by using both hands straight up, but Kim Jong-un keeps one arm on his chair, posture slightly slanted, and claps with one hand against the stationary one. It's just like how Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il clap."
The official media at first deliberately edited pictures of the party congress so that Jong-un does not appear in them, showing only Kim Won-hong, the head of the People's Army Security Command, who was seated next to Jong-un. A South Korean intelligence official said, "The succession seems to be progressing according to a well-choreographed script, but it appears rushed."
A photograph of Kim Jong-il seated with around 1,000 party officials was also published in which two women in formal suits stand at the left in second row. A source familiar with North Korea said the middle-aged woman on the right is Kim Ok, Kim Jong-il's fourth wife, and the young woman on the left appears to be his youngest daughter Yo-jong, who is also being seen in a picture for the first time.
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