As intense heat wave sweeps Southeast Asia, temperatures in the hermit kingdom aren’t any better.
The North Korean media released pictures of its Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, just as they usually do. However, what was unusual about the pictures was this time Kim ditched his trademark Mao-style suit and stepped out in an undershirt.
The pictures were clicked when the Supreme Leader was on an inspection visit to Kumsanpho fish pickling plant.
In another picture from the fish pickling factory, Kim was pictured in a grey-colored suit, baggy trousers and a straw hat. Later on, he took off the jacket and went ahead only in his undershirt tucked in his trousers.
His wife, Ri Sol-ju, who accompanied him to the plant, was later seen holding her husband’s jacket over her arm.
Although Kim opted for a casual style amid the heat wave, his officials didn’t have the liberty to do so and were pictured in full uniform.
His entourage which included senior military officers, party officials and factory bosses were all seen sweltering in tightly-buttoned uniforms even in the fierce weather.
The inspection to the fish plant comes amid a series of inspections Kim is making ahead of the 70th anniversary of its founding on September 9.
Moreover, the country is also facing food shortages.
Reportedly, there is not enough food to go around for North Korean army officers. The malnourished soldiers have been instructed by the higher-ups to steal corn from fields to calm their hunger pangs.
In 2015, North Korea entered the worst drought crisis in a century. The hermit kingdom’s population still continues to struggle amid worsening shortages of food and water.
Due to the famine, almost a third of children under five are stunted by malnutrition, according to the United Nations. About 20 percent of pregnant and breast-feeding women are also emaciated. More than two million people receive help from the U.N. World Food Program.
The newly released pictures of Kim are also an attempt to portray him in a different light as in the past he has always seen on military sites.
However, these pictures can’t erase the reality. In the past, in what the Red Cross billed a “major, complex disaster,” where nearly 100 people died from flooding caused by heavy rains in North Korea.
The post-flood epidemics started claiming lives, however, Kim was more concerned with testing nuclear weapons.
None of the disaster struck areas were on Kim’s priority list as he didn’t visit any of the areas.
Banner / Thumbnail : KCNA via Reuters