Lifestyle & Belief

World leaders in wax: Kim Jong Il has finally made it


A file photo taken on March 3, 2001 shows North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il during a meeting with Sweden's prime minister.



In a gesture of what is probably good will, China has donated a wax model of the late Kim Jong Il to its irksome ally North Korea. reports that the figure, shown below in Kim Jong Il's token jumpsuit and parka, will go on display in the North Korean capital Pyongyang on July 27.

The waxwork was presented by the Chinese Communist Party's foreign liaison department, according to, and was made by Chinese artist Zhang Molei of the "Great People Waxwork Museum," which has made wax figures of Mao and Lenin in the past.


With a Kim Jong Il figure added to the collection of wax immortals in the North (a collection that includes Kim Jong Il's mother, Kim Jong Suk), Korea watchers are speculating that Sino-DPRK relations are warming.

But's James Pearson told GlobalPost not to read too much into the gift.

"To be honest this doesn't necessarily reflect a change in Sino-North Korean relations at all — the waxwork was a party-to-party gift and, despite all the analysis on the outside that Pyongyang is somehow an embarrassment to Beijing, the truth is we just don't know," Pearson said in an email.

"In reality, Sino-North Korean relations carry on as normal, and China is, was, and will continue to be very important ally for the DPRK."

One thing is for sure, though: Kim Jong Il has finally made it.

He joins the ranks of great leaders, several of whom are pictured below, who have had wax figures modelled after them — a sure sign that one can live forever, in a manner of speaking.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama poses with a wax figure of himself at Madame Tussaud's on June 14, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Getty Images)

Wax likenesses of former US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (left) and former German Chancellor Willy Brandt (right) on June 24, 2013 in front of the town hall of Berlin's Schoeneberg district. Kennedy gave his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in that spot on June 26, 1963, in which he underlined the support of the United States for West Germany and his empathy for people living in the divided city of Berlin. His visit to Berlin at that time was the first of a US president to Germany after the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

A wax figure of US President Abraham Lincoln sits in the front row of a Delta Shuttle airplane at La Guardia Airport in New York. Lincoln may not have had the opportunity to fly on the shuttle while alive, but his wax likeness traveled as a paying passenger. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

A new wax figure of French President Francois Hollande is unveiled at Madame Tussauds in London, Aug. 23, 2012. (Carl Court/AFP/GettyImages)

Former Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri (right) poses with a wax statue of her father President Sukarno (left) at Madame Tussauds in Bangkok on Sept. 24, 2012. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/GettyImages)

Wax likenesses of Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate stand at the British embassy in Berlin on Aug. 16, 2012. (Barbara Sax/AFP/GettyImages)

Wax likeness of Pope John Paul II at Madame Tussauds in Berlin on Dec. 5, 2012. (Jens Kalaene/AFP/Getty Images)

Wax figures of former First Lady Hillary Clinton and former US President Bill Clinton on Jan. 17, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Teri Mcclain of Seattle poses with wax figures of US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on Jan. 17, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

A new waxwork statue of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at Madame Tussauds in Blackpool, northwest England, on May 30, 2012. (Andrew Yates/AFP/GettyImages)

A wax model of German Chancellor Angela Merkel is unveiled at Madame Tussauds Museum in central London on Feb. 5, 2008. (Shaun Curry/AFP/Getty Images)

A wax model of Mahatama Gandhi in Pattaya, Thailand. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images)