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North Korean state media has released a still photograph of what is believed to have been Kim Jong-il’s last public appearance before he died.

He is seen on a supermarket escalator, with his son and future successor Kim Jong-un among those behind him.

Today the escalator they travelled down has been turned into a shrine.

“I can’t imagine how happy it would make us and our fellow citizens if he could ride on this escalator again,” said one woman, amid a group of mourners, weeping around the moving staircase. “I still feel that he is alive, with his bright smile. I can also hear his voice.”

It is uncertain when Kim Jong-il visited the supermarket in Pyongyang. But what does seem sure is that the escalator he rode on will now have a hallowed place in North Korean history.

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