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Kim Jong Un was never photographed with revered grandfather, experts say

Kim Jong Un is known for emulating his grandfather’s appearance and gestures, but the current leader has never been photographed with the late Kim Il Sung.

By
Elizabeth Shim
Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un visiting a factory prior to the late Kim's death in 2011. North Korea's commemoration of Kim Il Sung's 103rd birthday, which is Wednesday, was marked by numerous photographs of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un, but none of the three together. Photo courtesy of Yonhap.
Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un visiting a factory prior to the late Kim's death in 2011. North Korea's commemoration of Kim Il Sung's 103rd birthday, which is Wednesday, was marked by numerous photographs of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un, but none of the three together. Photo courtesy of Yonhap.

SEOUL, April 13 (UPI) -- North Korea is celebrating the upcoming 103rd birthday of the late Kim Il Sung, the country's founder, but the fanfare has been marked by the stark absence of family photographs between Kim, and current leader as well as biological grandson, Kim Jong Un.

State-controlled North Korea media outlets have run photos depicting Kim Il Sung, his son Kim Jong Il, and Kim Jong Il together with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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But neither photos of the three appearing simultaneously nor images of grandfather doting on young grandson are to be found, reported Yonhap.

Chang Yong-seok, an analyst at Seoul National University's Institute for Peace and Unification Studies, said North Korea would have published a photograph of Kim Jong Un alongside his revered late grandfather by now, in order to legitimize his rule.

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"It's a widely accepted theory that there are no photographs of the two taken together," Chang said, according to Yonhap.

Other sources said protocol in North Korea prohibited members of Kim Jong Il's family, other than those of his two official wives, from having direct access to Kim Il Sung.

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Kim Jong Un is the son of Ko Young Hui and the late Kim Jong Il. Kim Jong Il never married Ko, a professional dancer who was born in Japan.

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Upon meeting the North Korean leader, Ko eventually gave birth to Kim Jong Un and two other children. Ko was reported to have died in 2004.

There also is no recorded evidence of Ko and Kim Il Sung, but Ko is known as "The Respected Mother who is the Most Faithful and Loyal 'Subject' to the Dear Leader Comrade Supreme Commander" in the reclusive country.

Yonhap reported the only grandchildren, who are known to have met directly with Kim Il Sung, are the two daughters of Kim Jong Il's second wife Kim Yong Suk.

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Kim Jong Un is known for emulating his grandfather's appearance and gestures when interacting with the North Korean public.

On Sunday, ahead of Kim Il Sung's 103rd birthday on Wednesday, North Korea's Rodong Sinmun reported various divisions of the North Korean military were paying respects to the late founder of North Korea at Pyongyang's Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, which is also the mausoleum of Kim Il Sung.

North Korea's top brass officials Hwang Byong So and Ri Yong Gil were present according to South Korea's Herald Business.

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