SEOUL (Reuters) -North Korea’s Kim Jong-il has grown in stature, thanks to a pair of platform shoes that increased the Dear Leader’s height by about five inches, a leading South Korean daily reported Wednesday.
The Dong-a Ilbo published a recently obtained photograph of a smiling Kim that shows him wearing a pair of platform shoes with heels about 4-5 inches high.
Kim’s actual height is a tightly guarded secret and Pyongyang seldom releases photographs that show his shoes. Kim is estimated to stand between five and five and one-half feet tall in his stockinged feet.
The photo published Wednesday was taken in 2002 during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A North Korea analyst said that Kim liked to boost his height with platform shoes during his rare meetings with world leaders.
“Platform shoes are an essential item for Kim Jong-il who fears being ignored when he meets outside leaders and Westerners,” said Sohn Kwang-joo, chief editor of the Daily NK, a Web site that follows North Korean news.
“What would North Koreans think if their leader was such a short man? That’s why Kim feels he deserves to wear platform shoes, even if they kill his ankles,” he said.