North Korea has finally responded to persistent rumors that leader Kim Jong-un had plastic surgery to look like his revered grandfather, issuing an angry denial criticizing “sordid” media reports.
Speculation that Kim’s resemblance to the country’s founding leader, Kim Il-sung, is not 100 percent natural has been around for some time, though with little or no supporting evidence.
The rumors have been partly fed by the undeniable fact that Kim Jong-un has sought to evoke memories of his grandfather in numerous ways, through his dress, haircut, gestures and public appearances. There is also a clear physical resemblance, but Pyongyang’s patience with reports of plastic surgery appears to have run out.
“The false report ... released by enemies is a hideous criminal act which the party, state, army and people can never tolerate,” the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a commentary on Jan. 23.
Insisting that the very idea of Kim undergoing plastic surgery was “unimaginable,” KCNA flatly rejected what it described as “sordid hackwork by rubbish media.”