Plastic surgery to look like grandpaLONDON - North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s heir apparent son, Kim Jong-un, has undergone plastic surgery six times to look more like his late grandfather and the nation’s founder, the chief of a radio station specializing in North Korean affairs claimed yesterday.
Ha Tae-kyung, head of Open Radio for North Korea, cited unidentified senior North Korean officials and claimed that the North’s leader-in-waiting had the operations between 2007 and 2010 before he officially debuted as successor last September.
Ha made the remarks in a speech on North Korea’s power succession during an international defense forum hosted by the London-based Royal United Services Institute.
Believed to be in his late 20s, Kim was given the title of four-star general and named the vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party in what was believed to be Pyongyang’s first official steps to put him in line to succeed his father.
It is not the first time that Kim was rumored to have undergone plastic surgery.
Rumors began after photographs of Kim looking chubby and with facial features similar to his grandfather were released shortly after the political event.
Ha claimed that the surgery was aimed at creating an image similar to that of his charismatic grandfather and North Korea’s founder, Kim Il Sung, to boost his position as the country’s next leader.
The succession, if made, would mark communism’s second hereditary power transfer. The elder Kim inherited power from his father, who died in 1994.
Ha also said that Pyongyang is working on consolidating the heir apparent’s power after his leadership was undermined following failed attempts to reform the impoverished nation’s currency system in 2009.
The reform move is believed to have caused strong public backlash as it led to massive inflation and worsened food shortages.
한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
“김정은, 할아버지 닮으려 여섯 번 성형수술”
열린북한방송 대표 주장
김정일 국방위원장의 셋째 아들 김정은(오른쪽 사진)이 후계자로 내정된 뒤 공식 석상에 등장하기 전까지 모두 6차례 성형 수술을 했다는 주장이 제기됐다.
열린북한방송 하태경 대표와 정치범수용소에 27년간 수감됐다가 탈북한 김혜숙(50·여)씨 등은 27일 낮 북한의 인권 실태를 고발하기 위해 영국 런던을 방문해 왕립합동군사문제연구소(RUSI)가 주최한 간담회에서 이같이 주장했다.
하 대표는 북한은 내부적으로 2007년 초 김정은을 후계자로 내정했으며 김정은이 지난해 9월 공식 등장하기까지 3년여간 모두 6차례의 크고 작은 성형수술을 받았다는 말을 현직 북한 고위 관계자로부터 들었다고 전했다. 김정은의 성형 수술은 북한 주민들에게 여전히 존경받고 있는 할아버지 김일성(왼쪽 사진)의 풍모를 닮도록 함으로써 김일성의 카리스마를 후계에 활용하기 위한 정지작업으로 풀이된다고 그는 설명했다.