Photo of Youthful Kim Jong-un Revealed

Kim Jong-un (left) standing beside late leader Kim Jong-il in 2009 (top) and in August 2012 (bottom). /Rodong Sinmun-KCNA Kim Jong-un (left) standing beside late leader Kim Jong-il in 2009 (top) and in August 2012 (bottom). /Rodong Sinmun-KCNA

North Korea on Wednesday filled another gap in the photographic history of leader Kim Jong-un, whom few people had laid eyes on until late in 2010.

The official Rodong Sinmun carried six photos of late leader Kim Jong-il and his son Jong-un visiting major military units, one of which was a previously unseen picture from 2009. Kim junior has a less striking hairstyle and is slimmer than now.

A Unification Ministry official said, "It seems they were observing an artillery drill on Feb. 12, 2009, considering Kim senior's suit and the ambient backdrop."

The visit took place right after Kim junior was designated heir to the throne on Jan. 8 the same year.

Kim junior made his first public appearance with his current look at a party congress on Sept. 28, 2010.

"When Kim Jong-un made his first public appearance, even rumors circulated in the North that he was the reincarnation of nation founder Kim Il-sung," a South Korean security official said. "This shows how hard the regime tried to manipulate his images to make him look more like Kim Il-sung."

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 27, 2012 09:59 KST

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