Kim Jong Un was wrapped in a luxurious double-breasted trench with a fur collar as he inspected fisheries in chilly North Korea.
The beaming dictator walked through corridors of frozen fish piled high as he visited the fishermen on the eastern coast.
December temperatures in the isolated communist state average -3 C, but smiling Kim appeared to warmly greet his loyal subjects and chuckled with his military personnel in the freezers.
The North Korean leader is reported to have a love of fish in the form of sushi, which he washes down with Cristal champagne, often followed by a cigarette.
Kim Jong Un’s ruddy face beams with laughter as he and his men find something to chuckle about in the frosty warehouse
The communist dictator laughs as he steps through the corridor of frozen fish piled high, wearing his trademark black Mao suit beneath his overcoat
Loyal fisherman wave their arms as Kim Jong Un smiles, sporting his Western style tortoise rimmed spectacles on the eastern coast of North Korea
Kim Jong Un discusses the facility with his military personnel who take notes in the frigid warehouse as Kim dons a luxurious double-breasted trench with a fur collar
Despite his cheery demeanour, a North Korean soldier defected to South Korea today across his heavily fortified land border.
The rare defection came as the two Koreas push ahead with a process of reconciliation in an effort to ease tensions, despite talks between Pyongyang and Washington on the North’s nuclear weapons programme stalling.
The incident did not trigger any gunfire, unlike last year when a North Korean soldier ran across under a hail of bullets from his own side.
‘A North Korean soldier was detected crossing the military demarcation line’ by South Korean troops using surveillance equipment, the military Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement.
‘Related agencies plan to investigate him regarding the details of how he came to the South,’ it said.
Kim Jong Un gestures to his staff who deligenetly keep a note of his remarks, as a group of fisherman in Russian ushanka hats stand aboard a dock on the icy waters of the eastern coast
Banks of fishermen in orange life-jackets wave to the North Korean leader who is flanked by commanders in ushanka hats emblazoned with the communist red star
Fisherman toil as Kim Jong Un, whose hair is closely cropped on either side, talks to his men as the military attaché scribble down his statements
The JCS gave no further details, such as the exact location of the defection, the soldier’s name, rank or unit or whether he was carrying a weapon.
‘The soldier is safely in our custody’, the JCS said.
The last defection involving North Koreans occurred in May when two civilians aboard a small boat fled to the South across the Yellow Sea.
In November last year, a North Korean soldier drove to the heavily guarded border at speed and ran across under fire from his own comrades.
He was hit multiple times in the dramatic defection at Panmunjom truce village, a major tourist attraction and the only place on the frontier where forces from the two sides come face-to-face.
Three other soldiers reportedly crossed the land border last year in separate incidents.
In 2012 a North Korean soldier walked unchecked through rows of electrified fencing and surveillance cameras, prompting Seoul to sack three field commanders for a security lapse.
More than 30,000 North Korean civilians have fled their homeland since the peninsula was divided at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
Most flee across the porous frontier with neighbouring China and it is very rare for them to cross the closely guarded inter-Korean border, which is fortified with minefields and barbed wire.
In recent months, however, the two sides have begun to remove landmines and destroy military bunkers at parts of the border as part of efforts to improve long-strained relations.
They have also begun work to reconnect a train line and repair another rail link across the border.
Kim Jong Un’s 1950s style suit features wide hemmed trousers which billow over his signature black heeled shoes, as he keeps his hands tightly stuffed inside his coat for warmth
Kim Jong Un is presented with a tray of frozen fish which he gestures to as the military personnel take notes of his analysis
Kim Jong Un is flanked by advisers wearing black Mao suits as he holds his arm out in discussion with his men in the frozen fish warehosue
Despite the warming ties, it remains unclear whether the North’s leader Kim Jong Un will make his first-ever visit to the South this year, as Seoul is hoping.
Kim agreed to travel to Seoul after hosting his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang in September for their third summit but prospects of a fourth Moon-Kim meeting have recently dimmed, with negotiations on denuclearizing the North grinding to a halt.
In an apparent bid to encourage a hesitating Kim to commit to a trip, Moon elicited an expression of support for such a visit from US President Donald Trump at a summit in Buenos Aires on Friday.
‘The two leaders agreed Chairman Kim Jong Un’s visit to Seoul would provide additional momentum to their joint efforts to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula,’ Moon’s chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan said.