London: Heir to North Korean regime Kim Jong-un has reportedly undergone plastic surgery so that he closely resembles his grandfather, a media report said Tuesday.
The speculation began in South Korea after the release last week of the first official photographs of the 27-year-old son of Kim Jong-il, telegraph.co.uk reported.
The images show a chubby, nervous looking young man sitting in the front row of a packed auditorium as he was named vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers` Party and a four-star general. In the images, the family resemblance between Kim Jong-un and his grandfather Kim Il-Sung is obvious.
The youngest in the Kim dynasty has the same chubby cheeks as his grandfather, a double chin and the familiar mouth that turns down at the ends.
He also apparently favours his grand-father`s preference for having his hair cut very short at the sides and swept back on top.
The images are in stark contrast to previous photographs, which depict Kim Jong-un as a slender teenager who looks nothing like his paternal grandfather.
South Korean newspapers suggested that in the intervening years he had undergone surgery to boost his standing with the public.
The Dong-A Ilbo newspaper reported that Pyongyang was hoping to cement Kim`s position as the country`s next leader through a "reincarnation of North Korea`s late founder".
"A lot of people in South Korea have pointed out that Kim`s face is very different from when he was young, particularly the shape of his chin," Toshimitsu Shigemura, a professor at Tokyo`s Waseda University and author of a number of books on the North Korean leadership, told The Daily Telegraph.
"From previous photos, everyone had remarked that he looked nothing like his grandfather, so the change is quite dramatic," he said.
The JoongAng Sunday newspaper reported that it had secretly interviewed three people in North Korea by mobile phone and that there has been similar speculation in the North since their new leader-in-waiting was unveiled.