BEIJING (AFP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un strikes fear into some hearts, but photos of a Chinese street food vendor with a distinct resemblance to the Pyongyang strongman have fuelled online mirth.
Chubby, with a round face and sporting Kim’s trademark side-shaved haircut, the vendor was pictured cooking skewered meat on a rusty barbecue.
Referred to only as Xia by the media, the 38-year-old works in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang, not far from the border with North Korea.
Like Kim, Xia has a penchant for high-buttoned jackets, and a smoking habit.
But the vendor appears to lead a simpler existence than his powerful doppelganger – who is reported to enjoy a luxury lifestyle – and was seen at the weekend sitting on a small plastic stool, tending to his meaty wares.
Thousands of Chinese Internet users commented on the images, with many referring to Kim by the nickname “Fatty the Third", a reference to his weight as well as his inheritance of his position from his father and grandfather.
Beijing has long been Pyongyang’s closest ally, but the North’s continued nuclear programme is said to have chilled ties, and Chinese social media users often skewer the young leader with irreverent criticism.
“This has got to be Fatty the Third’s brother – quick, bring him back!” wrote one user of Sina Weibo, a social media service similar to Twitter.
China provides the bulk of North Korea’s trade and aid, and another user wrote: “Fatty the Third finally has a money-making career.”
Another added: “If Kim Jong Un saw these pictures, I’m sure he’d hire him as a body double.”