Korean star? No, that's China President Xi in younger days

Korean star? No, that's China President Xi in younger days

BEIJING - Photos that compare the looks of Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean actor Kim Soo Hyun have become an Internet sensation, following the revelation by China's First Lady that the two look like.

Ms Peng Liyuan said that Kim, who shot to stardom in China for playing an alien professor in TV series My Love From The Star, resembled Mr Xi when the President was younger, Yonhap News reported.

She made the comment last Thursday during a guided cultural tour of the 600-year-old Changdeok Palace in Seoul, where Mr Xi was making his first official visit as head of state.

"My daughter likes Korean drama more than I do," Ms Peng said, adding that Korean dramas helped the two nations' young generations develop their understanding of each other's cultures.

When exchanging traditional gifts with South Korea's presidential secretary Cho Yoon Sun, Ms Peng joked that she wished her husband was Professor Do Min Joon, the lead male character played by Mr Kim in My Love From The Star.

Internet users were quick to post photos online that compare a much younger Mr Xi and Mr Kim side by side.

Opinions were divided on the duo's resemblance, with many claiming on Twitter-like Weibo that Mr Xi was "more handsome" without any make-up.

"Handsome celebrities put up so much make-up nowadays. Xi may not even have met any guys with make-up in those days. His beauty is natural," said a netizen named Ni De Wei Ni.

Others made fun of Kim's looks when he gets old. "Now Professor Do should know what he'll look like in 30 years," said another post on Weibo.

Mr Xi's two-day visit to Seoul, which ended last Friday, covered a wide range of topics including security and economy, while Ms Peng focused on cultural exchange, said China's state agency Xinhua.

"The visit is a boost not only to the political trust between leaders of the two countries, but also to the friendship between the two peoples," Dr Kim Han Kwon, director of the Centre for China Studies in South Korea, told Xinhua.

This article was published on July 6 in The Straits Times.

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