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North Korea Bans Use of Leader's Name

FILE - North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un visits a Korean People's Army fishery station.

North Korea has prohibited its citizens from having the same name as the country's leader, Kim Jong Un.

It is the latest reported attempt by Pyongyang to generate a personality cult around the Kim family, which has ruled North Korea for three generations.

A North Korean state directive says all citizens named Kim Jong Un should get new names and that birth registrations with that name should be rejected.

The mandate, obtained by several South Korean media outlets, was given in January 2011, a year before Kim took power following his father's death.

In the months preceding his December 2011 death, Kim Jong Il had been grooming Kim Jong Un to take over as his successor.

North Korea has not commented on the reported directive, but Seoul officials say it is likely genuine, since Pyongyang is also believed to have prohibited its citizens from taking the names of Kim Jong Il or Kim Il Sung, the country's founding leader.