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On Sunday, a North Korean television broadcast revealed what could potentially be the first official portrait of Kim Jong-un, signifying a new phase in the young leader’s cult of personality.

The painting, which was aired during Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel’s visit to the country, depicts a smiling Kim dressed in a Western-style suit and tie. It was exhibited next to a portrait of the new Cuban leader.

Unlike his father Kim Jong-il and grandfather Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un is not known to have previously been the subject of any official portrait.

Pyongyang’s Mansudae Arts Studio traditionally creates these according to strict regulations. Official portraits of North Korea’s leaders are frequently seen in its public spaces and represent the country’s reigning family.

While Kim has more often been embodied as a successor rather than commanding figure since he came to power in 2011, this latest portrait is significant, as it emblematically makes him equal to his father and grandfather, rather than just a “loyal follower of what has gone before,” according to NK News analyst Peter Ward.

In what appears to be a major development in state propaganda, North Korea has unveiled what looks like the first official portrait of Kim Jong Un – hints at a major elevation of the leader to the stature of his father and grandfather

— Oliver Hotham (@OliverHotham) November 5, 2018

North Korea unveils likely first official Kim Jong Un portrait at Cuba summit | NK News – North Korea News

UPDATE AT 2015 KST: This article has been amended to reflect North Korean state media’s Monday afternoon coverage of the event.

[via TIME and NK News, main image via LMspencer /]

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