WITH the fate of a June 12 summit in Singapore between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un still uncertain, a Kim lookalike shocked many pedestrians in the Southeast Asian city-state.
Many pursued asked for photos with Howard X, a Chinese-Australian Kim impersonator, as he walked near Singapore’s photogenic Marina Bay Sands hotel on Sunday. He said he was in Singapore to wish success for the summit between Trump and Kim to negotiate an end to Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.
Trump signalled that preparations for a June 12 summit with Kim were going ahead, despite having called it off last week, and a White House team was scheduled to depart for Singapore this weekend to prepare for the possible summit.
“I think the two leaders will sit down and they’re going to have a great time, because really they have the same personality,” said Howard on Sunday. “They are going to be best friends right after this meeting.”
The impersonator said Kim’s rise as the third leader of North Korea in 2011 has proved lucrative for him, jump starting a new career in films, commercials and private functions, most often in his home town of Hong Kong.
“I said that guy looks a lot like me, and I thought, wow, I need to do something with this and make some money,” he added.
“It looked like the real Kim Jong Un, but later I realised it’s not the real one,” said Sagar Admuthe who was visiting from Mumbai, India, after several selfies with the doppleganger against a backdrop of the city’s bay. “When you see him, it’s very difficult to make out.”
Howard X also made an appearance as Kim at the Winter Olympics in Gangneung in South Korea in February, bewildering North Korean cheerleaders who initially thought their leader had walked into a hockey stadium.
“This is my normal body,” he said, when asked if he had to put on weight to impersonate the North’s leader. “But he’s fatter, and I can’t catch up … it’ll damage my health.”
Howard X, who is a musician by training and said he still produces Brazilian music sung in Chinese, said his partner known as Dennis Alan impersonates Trump. Although he could not join him this week, both will return before the summit.
“Hey Donald, I’m already in Singapore, waiting for you to turn up,” he said.
Additional reporting from Reuters.