Report: North Koreans annoyed with Kim Jong Un photographs

By Elizabeth Shim  |  Dec. 18, 2017 at 1:24 PM
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Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un may enjoy being photographed frequently, but his desire to be at the center of state media attention may be irritating ordinary North Koreans.

Kim's recurring presence in North Korean newspapers like the Rodong Sinmun now means major state visits must be commemorated with dozens of Kim photographs per issue, Daily NK reported Monday.

On Dec. 9 Kim's visit to Samjiyon in Yanggang Province was announced in the newspaper with 60 photographs from the location, with 50 out of the 60 pictures including Kim.

The attention-seeking Kim is drawing criticism from North Koreans, who say he is trying to repair his image following the execution of his uncle-in-law Jang Song Taek.

One North Korea source told Daily NK the "very common" photographs are a problem for smokers.

"People don't like it," the source said. "Among workers, who are looking for spare newspaper to roll up a cigarette, it is becoming increasingly hard to find a fragment without a portrait of Kim Jong Un."

North Korea law forbids people from using pictures of Kim in derogatory ways, and travelers to North Korea have previously told UPI they are not allowed to fold a crease across a picture of Kim's face, or damage an image of him in newspapers.

Kim may be tightening his grip as he concludes his fifth full year in power.

Analysts at Seoul's Institute for National Security Strategy said Monday that Kim has purged top officials Hwang Pyong So and Kim Won Hong, less than a week after a South Korean newspaper reported Hwang may have been expelled from the Workers' Party for taking bribes.

The INSS also said economic sanctions could hit the elites, and Kim could purge more economic officials to assign blame as conditions worsen in the country, Yonhap reported.

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