(LEAD) Mosaic of N. Korean leader erected in Pyongyang as part of personality cult

Date: 2023-09-19T11:31:16+09:00

Location: en.yna.co.kr

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 2, 7, 8)

SEOUL, Sept. 19 (Yonhap) -- A mosaic mural depicting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was erected at an elite school in Pyongyang, state media reported Tuesday, as North Korea has been bolstering its leader's personality cult.

The North held a ceremony unveiling the mosaic Sunday at Mangyongdae Revolutionary School to portray his "benevolent image" shown during his visit to the school last year on its 75th founding anniversary, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The painting described Kim, wearing a red scarf around his neck, as smiling while being surrounded by students of the school, according to photos carried by the KCNA.

North Korea has set up mosaic murals, mainly made of pieces of colored glass and tiles, for late former leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il across the country for propaganda purposes.

North Korea revealed a mosaic mural of Kim Jong-un for the first time in October last year, with a painting depicting him as digging the first shovel of earth at a ceremony to mark the start of the construction of a greenhouse farm in Hamju County. But it marked the first time that the erection of such a mosaic was identified in Pyongyang.

The secretive regime has been accelerating the personality cult for Kim Jong-un by bestowing him with the title "President," which was reserved for his late grandfather.

South Korea's unification ministry said the erection of Kim's mosaics and the use of such a title reflect the North's drive for idolizing him.

"The North's leader has continued to stress the importance of the future generation and he seems to cherish the school as a symbol of his regime," a ministry official told reporters when asked about the government's assessment of the North's intent to set his mosaic at the school.