Wednesday 28 September 2016

Kim Jong-un scales new heights in self-delusion

Julian Ryall

Published 21/04/2015 | 02:30

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greets Korean People's Army pilots during a visit to the summit of Mt Paektu. Photo: Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greets Korean People's Army pilots during a visit to the summit of Mt Paektu. Photo: Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un views the dawn from the summit of Mt Paektu in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Photo: Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un views the dawn from the summit of Mt Paektu. Photo: Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un views the dawn from the summit of Mt Paektu. Photo: Reuters

Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, has been photographed being cheered by fighter pilots at the peak of the nation's highest mountain.

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State media has claimed that Mr Kim climbed the 9,022-foot Mount Paektu to honour the 23rd anniversary of his late father, Kim Jong-il, being proclaimed "wonsu", or marshal.

Given Mr Kim's health problems, it is unlikely he hiked up the volcanic peak, which sits on the border with China and is revered in North Korean propaganda as the "sacred mountain of the revolution".

According to North Korea's official version of history, Kim Jong-il was born in a hut on the slopes of the mountain, from where Kim Il-sung organised partisan groups to fight the Japanese occupation forces of the Korean peninsula. Historical documents show, however, that Kim Jong-il was born in a refugee camp in Russia and that Kim Il-sung spent more time being indoctrinated by Soviet officials who then installed him as the leader of North Korea in 1945.

The "Paektu Line" nevertheless remains a critical component of the Kim family legend. Mr Kim was photographed ankle-deep in snow and with the sun rising behind him, while in other shots he is being greeted by enraptured pilots.

The Korea Central News Agency reported Kim had "shelved all state affairs, not only to show his love for the fighter pilots, but also to implant the revolutionary spirit of Paektu... deeper in the hearts of them". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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