Following recent images that suggested he had lost weight, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has sparked even more curiosity about his health.
Kim appeared much trimmer in photographs broadcast by official media on Saturday, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. Kim’s heavy frame has piqued world curiosity since he became the country’s leader almost a decade ago.
Kim appeared to have dropped a “substantial amount of weight,” according to NK News, which examined images of him speaking at a ruling party politburo meeting late last week – his first public appearance in a month.
The Seoul-based website published larger photographs on Tuesday, implying that Kim, who is thought to be 37, had tightened the strap on his favorite watch, which is reputedly worth $12,000.
His left wrist appears to be significantly thinner in these shots than it was in similar shots taken in November 2020 and March this year.
Kim, a habitual smoker whose father, Kim Jong-il, died in December 2011 from a suspected heart attack, has struggled with health issues that many ascribe to his weight and lifestyle.
According to NK News, South Korea’s national intelligence service told MPs last year that Kim weighed 140kg (22st) and had gained 6-7kg every year since taking power in late 2011.
The website’s story did not specify if Kim’s new look was the result of illness or an intentional decision to shed weight.
According to NK News, the leader may have resolved to lose weight in order to boost his domestic standing.
Food shortages and an economic catastrophe have hit the country as a result of a sharp drop in commerce with China during the coronavirus epidemic, as well as a succession of natural disasters and international sanctions implemented in reaction to the regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Kim’s health has been the subject of much curiosity. He vanished for over six weeks in 2014 before reappearing with a walking stick.
South Korea’s intelligence service stated he had surgery to remove a cyst from his ankle a few days afterward.
Last spring, a three-week absence fueled rumors that he had been gravely ill following heart surgery, with some sources claiming he had died.
After Kim reappeared, ostensibly in good condition, a more reasonable theory emerged: he had merely been isolated with his family as a precaution throughout the pandemic.
After locking its borders with China and Russia and suspending air traffic, North Korea maintains that it has not discovered a single instance of the virus.