UK & World News
North Korean Ruler Caught With A Smartphone
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has been seen with a smartphone - prompting speculation he could be using a product made by arch enemy South Korea.
The device was seen in a photo of the communist leader chairing a meeting, which was taken some days ago. The phone was on a table next to where he was sitting, beside a large bundle of official papers.
Experts in South Korea - which the North has effectively been at war with for more than 60 years - have been drafted in to see whether Kim was using a Samsung.
Analysts believe if the North Korean leader was using a South Korean-made Samsung, it would be seen as an acceptance that his enemy had developed superior technology.
Even the South Korean government has joined in the debate.
"After a close analysis of photos and footage from the North's state media, we found some clues that Kim is using a smartphone," an official at the Ministry of Unification told South Korean newspaper Joong Ang Ilbo.
"Given that Kim has put the phone right next to a document in front of him, we assume that he carries it himself."
Analysts are also thought to be examining whether the device could be an iPhone, made by American technology giant Apple.
If Kim was using an Apple device, this could also be seen an admission of defeat to North Korea's arch-enemy - the United States.
North Korea recently claimed it was testing long-range nuclear missiles which, when operational, would be aimed at the US.
According to Joong Ang Ilbo†- which happens to be owned by Samsung - "intelligence authorities" have been drafted in to determine the make of the phone.
The consensus among South Korean experts so far seems to be that Kim has opted for an HTC model. As a Taiwanese manufacturer, it is a safer political choice.
His safest bet though might have been a Chinese-made Huawei smartphone. China is North Korea's only real ally, though tensions are even strained there at the moment after Beijing added its name to the latest round of UN sanctions against Pyongyang.
What has not been worked out is what Kim uses it for.
His dictatorial regime is known to have blocked all access to the World Wide Web. North Koreans are instead given access to a closed and limited home-made intranet.
A mobile telephone network was only introduced by the secretive state in 2008, and the joint venture with Egyptian firm Orascom only allows users to call other phones in North Korea.