North Korean soldier in blue generates buzz on social media

AP International News

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, poses for a group photo with fighter pilots who made the demonstration flight at the opening of an exhibition of weapons systems in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. Kim reviewed the rare exhibition and vowed to build an “invincible” military, as he accused the United States of creating regional tensions and lacking action to prove it has no hostile intent toward the North, state media reported Tuesday. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads: “KCNA” which is the abbreviation for Korean Central News Agency. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A North Korean soldier clad in a super-tight blue outfit in a state media photo has generated a buzz on social media, with some calling him “a superhero,” “a captain DPRK,” or “a rocket man.”

He was among nearly 30 soldiers who posed for a photo with leader Kim Jong Un during an exhibition of weapons systems on Monday. North Korea published photos of the event the following day.

They all mostly wore olive green uniforms, the most common color for North Korean military uniforms. Only two of them wore different colors — the one in the blue outfit and the other in a navy-blue uniform, which isn’t that unusual. Kim wore a dark suit.

Some Twitter users in South Korea, the U.S. and elsewhere joked about his appearance, saying he looks like a “human cannon ball,” or the North Korean equivalent of Captain America.

Others called him a “superhero,” a “captain DPRK,” the official acronym for North Korea, a “rocket man,” or a member of (non-existent) North Korean space forces.

North Korean state media didn’t identify the man. But Jeffrey Lewis, an expert at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, tweeted that “It seems he’s the parachutist.”

Other North Korean photos showed Kim watching a group of jets flying in a formation during an air show ahead of the exhibition. The official Korean Central News Agency said a “top notch parachutist showed landing skills, fluttering red party flag in the (October) sky” before the exhibition’s opening ceremony.

Photos of an earlier air show in North Korea showed parachutists wearing similar blue tight outfits.

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