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Tags: North Korea | kim jong un | weight loss | health | dictator | leadership | communist

Kim Jong Un's Recent Weight Loss Prompts Rumors About Health

kim jong un sits at the head of the table and points
Kim Jong Un (Korea News Service/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 09 June 2021 11:18 AM

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's apparent weight loss has caused rumors to spread about the month he recently spent out of the public eye, the Independent reports.

Last week, Kim appeared in public for the first time in nearly a month during a meeting of the ruling party politburo. NK News reports the dictator appears to have lost a "significant amount of weight," and later published photos that they said showed Kim has tightened the band on his watch.

Kim, who is a well-known heavy smoker, has reportedly gained weight steadily since taking over as the country's leader following the death of his father in 2011. South Korea's National Intelligence Service, which monitors his health, told legislators last year they thought Kim weighed about 300 pounds at that time, and had "gained an average of 6 to 7 kilograms per year."

"On the surface, noticeable weight loss may not mean much, but it can provide clues to other information that intelligence collectors look for," Mike Brodka, a U.S. intelligence officer in South Korea, told NK News.

Brodka said any number of factors could impact Kim's health and weight, and said it is "important for intelligence to look at different sources of information and indicators of linked events to try and answer" the country's propaganda.

"It may be a simple matter of a healthy lifestyle change or a more complex issue," he added. "Right now, we do not know, but it raises enough serious questions that we must pay attention to events over the next couple of months to find out."

Vipin Narang, associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told NK News, if Kim intentionally lost weight, that "likely improves his position at home," and this "in turn provides more predictability perhaps for regional actors like Japan, the [Republic of Korea] and the U.S. who may have greater confidence that he will be running the show."

He added, if the weight loss "is due to a health condition though, the jockeying for his succession might already be happening behind the scenes, and that volatility could be trouble for the outside world" if Kim had a sudden death like his father.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's apparent weight loss has caused rumors to spread about the month he recently spent out of the public eye, the Independent reports.
kim jong un, weight loss, health, dictator, leadership, communist
365
2021-18-09
Wednesday, 09 June 2021 11:18 AM
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