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North Korea’s Kim Jong-un badges worn by officials in public for the first time

The officials, speaking at a key meeting chaired by Kim of the reclusive state’s ruling party, wore the typical party logo badge on the right lapel and, on the left chest, the badge with Kim’s face against a flag-shaped red background.

The 10th Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, which reviewed the party’s performance for the first half of the year, began on Friday, state news agency KCNA said.

In an apparent push to solidify Kim Jong-un’s status as a leader equal to his father and grandfather, North Korean media published photographs showing his portrait hanging prominently next to those of Kim Jong-il and national patriarch Kim Il-sung earlier this year.

In April, the music video for a propaganda song praising Kim Jong-un as a “friendly father” and a “great leader” was aired on the state-controlled Korean Central Television, which has been banned by South Korea.

The wearing of badges featuring Kim Jong-un indicates a departure from the traditional practice of wearing pins showing portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.

The Kim Il-sung badge was first produced and distributed in 1970. The Kim Jong-il badge was first made available on February 16, 1992, to commemorate his 50th birthday.

After Kim Jong-il’s death, badges featuring portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il were widely distributed to the public and it became common for North Koreans to wear them.

The shift towards emphasising Kim Jong-un’s portrayal on the new badges reflects an intensified campaign to underscore his leadership, according to North Korea watchers.

“This is the pinnacle of idol worship. It would formalise Kim Jong-un’s elevation to the ranks of his predecessors, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il,” Yang Moo-jin,