The way the North Korean regime has responded to the rumor that Kim Jong-un had plastic surgery to look more like his grandfather makes me wonder if there is some truth to the rumor?
North Korea’s official news agency has taken the unusual step of publicly rebuking a rumor about young leader Kim Jong Eun, and has chastised China, its sponsor and only real ally, in the process. The vitriolic report insists that the 30-year-old Kim absolutely, positively did not receive plastic surgery to look more like his deceased grandfather, Kim Il Sung. Such rumors have been around for years, but just as rumors. So why condemn them now, at the risk of just lending them greater legitimacy?
Since taking control of the country, Kim Jong Eun has aggressively cultivated an image in his grandfather’s likeness. Kim Il Sung, considered North Korea’s national founder, is practically deified. His son and heir, Kim Jong Il, rarely appeared in public and never fully inherited his father’s cult of personality. Now, Kim Jong Eun seems to be doing everything he can to draw comparisons between himself and his beloved grandfather, which could help him considerably in consolidating and maintaining power.
The long-running rumors, that Kim Jong Eun’s resemblance to Kim Il Sung is more than just genetic, got a big boost from a mainland Chinese station called Shenzhen TV. The network, based in the country’s more liberal southeast, cited a “diplomatic source” who said he or she had traveled to Pyongyang recently, where a North Korean official had confirmed the rumor. [Washington Post]