North Korea Releases Childhood Photos of Leader Kim Jong Un for First Time
North Korea's state television station broadcast for the first time still photos of leader Kim Jong Un as a child during a tribute concert for his family last week.
Reuters reported that the official KCNA news agency released the video of the concert on Monday, which featured a meeting of the North's Air Force soldiers with Kim. The images of Kim's childhood, showing him in uniform at around four of five years of age, followed a chronological documentary of the Kim dynasty.
Not much has been officially confirmed about the history of Kim, who assumed office on April 13, 2012, following the death of his father, Kim Jong Il. His actual age was also unknown until his personal friend and former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman revealed that the North Korean leader is 31 years old, with his birthday falling on Jan. 8.
The Independent noted that he attended the International School of Berne in Switzerland, though he used a pseudonym to conceal his identity.
The North Korean government, along with Kim, have been severely criticized by human right groups for numerous human rights abuses, including forced labor, routine executions and complete oppression of religious freedom.
"When the full scale of the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany against the Jewish people was realized, the international community vowed never again would the world stand by and allow this type of cruelty to occur again," Suzanne Scholte, chairman of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, said in a statement at a Capitol Hill panel on North Korea in March.
"Yet, if you are a North Korean these words ring hollow because we have known of these atrocities for decades and yet we are allowing them to continue. Consider that the North Korean political prison camps have been in existence 10 times longer than the Nazi death camps, three times longer than the Soviet gulag, and existed even longer than the China's laogai."
Kim was recently elected to the highest legislative body of his country with unanimous support of the electorate, with state media saying that not a single vote was cast against him in March.
"This is an expression of all the service personnel and people's absolute support and profound trust in supreme leader Kim Jong Un as they single-mindedly remain loyal to him," KCNA said at the time.
The election, which is normally held every five years, was the first since the death of Kim Jong Il.