Wild theorists are claiming that Kim Jong Un has a body double after he made his first public appearance following weeks of rumours that he had died.
North Korean state media broadcast images of Kim at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a fertiliser plant on the outskirts of Pyongyang on Friday, his first appearance since April 11.
The pictures have been seized upon by internet sleuths who claim – in the tradition of autocrats including Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Saddam Hussein – that the man pictured is a political decoy and not Kim at all.
The ears and teeth of Kim have been the focus, many comparing very dated images of a younger Kim, to last week’s recent pictures of the 36-year-old. At least one, which zeroes in on his dentition, has been doctored to support the outlandish claim.
But former Tory MP Louise Mensch was taken in. ‘Teeth, Cupid’s bow, others. Totally different. Look at those gnashes, if you must.’ Ms Mensch tweeted.
Former Conservative MP Louise Mensch tweeted the photos comparing his teeth. The picture on the left is purportedly taken at his most recent appearance, but it does not match those broadcast by North Korea and has blatantly been doctored (see below)
This photograph of Kim released by North Korea on Saturday does not have the markedly different dentition which was seized upon by Ms Mensch
With regards to Kim’s auricular structure, the differences are far more subtle, and there is a vague suggestion his lobes have changed shape (the photo of Kim on the right is from 2010)
A brief look at the images officially released by the Korean propaganda machine would show that the picture of Kim with crooked teeth has come from elsewhere.
Elaborating further, she wrote: ‘It’s not the same person. But not going to argue it. Hairy moment when I thought my information was wrong. It wasn’t wrong though.
‘Not sure whether it suits us to go along with it or not, but these two are not the same.’
With regards to Kim’s auricular structure, the differences are far more subtle, and there is a vague suggestion his lobes have changed shape.
But some of the comparisons use images of the North Korean leader from a decade ago and his indulgent diet has rather changed his facial structure since then.
Jennifer Zeng, a blogger who takes a hardline against the Chinese Communist Party, shared numerous photos which have gained traction online.
She tweeted: ‘Is the Kim Jong-un appearing on May 1 the real one? 4 things to watch: 1. Teeth 2. Ears 3. Hair 4. Sister.’
Other images show a mark on Kim’s wrist which appears to be new, however, as has been reported on this website, it is believed to be a puncture related to cardiovascular surgery – a suspected reason for his recent absence from public life
On Saturday, North Korean media published photographs of Kim smiling and smoking cigarettes at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the inauguration of a fertiliser plant.
Kim Jong-Un’s last known movements
April 11 – The dictator presides over a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party committee of policymakers. His most recent public appearance
April 15 – Kim is absent from celebrations for North Korea’s founding father and Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung
April 21 – First reports surface claiming the dictator has received heart surgery from South Korean-based publication Daily NK
April 23 – Kim’s private train is spotted near his holiday resort in Wonsan on satellite images. It is at a station reserved for use by the Kim family, prompting rumours that he has travelled to the destination
April 23 – Chinese doctors reportedly arrive in North Korea around this time to treat the dictator. China is yet to confirm or deny the reports
May 1 – Pictures emerge of the dictator apparently at a fertiliser factory in Sunchon with his sister
Kim was last seen in public on April 11, when he presided over a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party in Pyongyang.
On April 15, he inexplicably missed a Day of the Sun celebration honouring his grandfather Kim Il-Sung, the founder of North Korea, and his father, Kim Jong Il.
His unprecedented absence sparked a wave of speculation about his health, particularly with regards to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kim is known for his indulgent diet, penchant for vintage claret and his smoking habit, all of which would make him more susceptible to the contagion.
But on Friday, May 1, the despot assuaged any fears with his first public appearance after his absence, when he cut the ribbon at the opening of a fertiliser factory in Sunchon.
In his appearance at the fertiliser factory, Kim expressed satisfaction about the production system and said the plant made a significant contribution to the progress of the country’s chemical industry and food production, KCNA said.
Marks on Kim’s wrist seen as he sat on a golf cart at the factory suggest he could have had heart surgery, medical experts claimed.
Kim (pictured) expressed satisfaction about the production system of the fertiliser factory, saying the plant made significant contribution for the progress of the country’s chemical industry and food production, KCNA said
Medical experts have assessed video footage of the visit and claim marks on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s arms (pictured) show he has had a ‘cardiovascular procedure’, US-funded NK News reported
The experts assessed video footage of the visit and claimed marks on Kim’s arms showed he has had a ‘cardiovascular procedure’, US-funded NK News reported.
What appeared to be needle marks could be seen on his wrists while he rode in a golf cart that looked a lot like the one he used in 2014, when he returned to the public eye with a cane after some time away.
Asked about the KCNA report, US President Donald Trump said: ‘I’d rather not comment on it yet. We’ll have something to say about it at the appropriate time.’