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Kim Jong-un now portrait-perfect

Nov 13,2010
In the latest effort to install Kim Jong-un, the youngest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, as the country’s next leader, portraits of the son are being now being handed out to ingrain his visage into the minds of North Koreans.

U.S.-based Radio Free Asia reported yesterday that regional government and security officials had received portraits of Kim Jong-un, citing several sources in North Korea. The portraits are to be distributed to all North Korean citizens by the end of the year. The portraits were officially handed out starting Nov. 6.

“Kim Jong-un has been confirmed as the next successor of Kim Jong-il, but it has not been officially announced yet,” said a source in Chongjin, North Hamgyong Province. “The portrait distribution is being rushed because they are in a hurry to underpin the succession.” Anonymous sources also said that Kim Jong-il’s health was also in question - another reason for the rush to hand out portraits. North Korean households are currently required to hang portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong-il in their homes.

According to sources, there are variations of Kim Jong-un’s portrait that are being handed out: a portrait of the son in a military suit is to be given to those in the military, while there are versions with Kim standing in an suit and another featuring the young successor examining documents. Representative members of North Korea’s Workers’ Party received their copies of Kim Jong-un’s portrait on Sept. 28 during the party’s rare convention. A source in Ryanggang Province said teams of regional officials had been formed to inspect the status of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong-il portraits in North Korean homes ahead of Kim Jong-un’s portrait distribution.



By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]



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