UK & World News
North Korean Statue Given Anorak In Make-Over
The North Korean authorities have recast a huge bronze statue of their former dictator Kim Jong-Il to show the leader wearing a casual anorak rather than a formal coat, only months after the original was unveiled.
The previous statue featured the North Korean 'Dear Leader' wearing a three-quarter length coat, with lapels and three buttons.
The first version only went on display at the Mansudae Grand Monument in Pyongyang in April last year, next to a huge statue of his father, the 'Great Leader' of North Korea, Kim Il-Sung.
It is not known how or why the statue was changed as North Korea has no independent media, but a photo of the monument taken on February 10 this year shows Mr Kim in a casual jacket.
Both statues were surrounded by tenting in October and had remained covered up until they were unveiled without ceremony this week.
It contrasts with the original unveiling in April 2012 which was watched by Kim Jong-Il's son and Kim Il-Sung's grandson Kim Jong-Un and a host of other senior Communist Party members.
Kim Jong-Il was known to like wearing his anorak, which he wore on numerous visits around the secretive and impoverished country.
A tribute to Kim Jong-Il, said to have been penned by the state-run Korean Central News Agency after his death, hailed the North Korean leader's "threadbare and discoloured" parka as a "symbol of revolution".
"It is a witness of history," the new agency's obituary said of the anorak. "The parka will be remembered forever by the Korean people."
The original statue, of Kim Il-Sung, was placed on the site in 1972, long before the death of the leader who ruled his country from 1948 until his death in 1994.
The second statue of Kim Jong-Il was only placed on the spot after the dictator's death.
The statues, which sit in a large ceremonial square filled with smaller versions, stand 20 metres high.
The statue of Kim Il-Sung was originally covered in gold leaf but the valuable coating was removed after the Chinese, who were effectively bankrolling the country, objected to such an expensive display of wealth.
North Korea has become increasingly isolated in recent months after demonstrating it is determined to press ahead with testing of nuclear weapons.
Its only ally China has also signalled its growing unhappiness by agreeing to tightened UN sanctions that had been proposed by America and other Western nations.