North Korea heatwave: Kim Jong-un strips to his vest

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New photographs released by North Korean media show the country’s leader Kim Jong-un stripped to his undershirt on an inspection visit to a fish pickling factory, while officials remained in full uniform in the heatwave which has hit the Korean peninsula.

The photos, which filled the first two pages of state newspaper Rodong Sinmun, show the Supreme Leader inspecting the Kumsanpho fish pickling plant alongside his wife Ri Sol-ju.

But as with most things North Korean, it’s what’s not been said by the distinctly “fishy” news release carefully-prepared by Pyongyang’s Propaganda and Agitation Department which raises eyebrows.

Not only can Mr Kim’s style of dress tell a story of the haves and have nots in North Korea, but the very timing of the visit shows how seriously Pyongyang is taking the heatwave in east Asia and the challenges facing the country’s food supply.

Mr Kim arrived at this week’s visit wearing a tailored grey jacket, straw hat and his trademark baggy trousers, a slight change from the “Mao jacket” favoured by his grandfather Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea whose style he has often copied.With temperatures in North Korea earlier this week nudging 37.8C (100F), he soon ditched the jacket, carrying on his visit in his undershirt tucked into his grey slacks.But while the Supreme Leader cooled down in more casual attire, the rest of his entourage – including senior military officers, party officials and factory bosses – remained sweltering in their uniforms.

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