- Kim Jong Un appeared to have lost even more weight at a North Korean military parade.
- Pictures released by state media show his suit hanging more loosely than in previous years.
- North Korea watchers have long noted the seeming weight loss, though there is no clear explanation.
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North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-Un appeared slimmer in new photos at a military parade, renewing longstanding speculation that he is losing weight.
Kim presided over an overnight military display of military force in Pyongyang early Thursday local time, as part of celebrations of the 73rd anniversary of the country’s founding.
In several pictures released by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, Kim seemed markedly slimmer than on earlier dates, with his suit appearing to fit him loosely.
With little independent information coming from the secretive country, its leader’s weight has long been a source of speculation and potential insight into his health – and that of his regime, as Insider’s Ryan Pickrell reported.
According to South Korea’s national spy agency the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Kim weighed 300 pounds (136kg) as of November 2020, which would make him severely obese.
But over time – and notably in the last year – North Korea-watchers have noted a seemingly shrinking waistline. By July 2021, NIS said he had likely lost between 22 and 44 pounds (20kg).
At Thursday morning’s parade, Kim again looked trimmer, as North Korea researcher Martyn Williams pointed out:
-Martyn Williams (@martyn_williams) September 9, 2021
Among the theories for the apparent weight loss has been speculation about Kim’s health. During two July military events, the leader was photographed with what appeared to be a strange greenish mark and a band-aid on the back of his head.
In April last year, the leader was subject to rumors of another health scare after disappearing from public view for two weeks.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has not admitted having any cases and declares itself coronavirus-free.
That claim was shaken, however, by a July 2020 reshuffle of his senior leadership. It had been prompted, Kim said, by a “grave crisis” relating to the pandemic. He did not offer further detail.