While North Korea suffers a food shortage emergency, chubby despot Kim Jong Un has lost at least 44 pounds — but just from a health kick, according to South Korean spies.
The Hermit Kingdom’s 37-year-old leader’s dramatic weight loss has recently renewed speculation over his health, following high-level intelligence last year that he’d been on his death bed.
But South Korea’s National Intelligence Service detailed to lawmakers Thursday how Kim seemed healthy, with his plummeting weight seemingly the result of him trying to improve his appearance.
The spy agency detailed how they’d become high-tech weight watchers, using the likes of artificial intelligence techniques and computer analysis of super-resolution video of Kim to evaluate his health, according to lawmakers who were in the closed-door parliamentary briefing.
They estimated that the 5-foot-8 tall leader had previously ballooned to as much as 308 pounds — but is currently around 264 pounds.
Kim has shown no signs of ill health, and he has engaged in public activities for 70 days so far this year, a 45 percent increase from the same period last year, the lawmakers reported.
Still, rumors have continued about Kim’s health, including ongoing rumors that an impostor has stood in for him at public appearances, rumors the NIS dismissed as groundless, lawmaker Kim Byung-kee said.
As well as vanity over his looks, Kim has also started making people use the term “Kimjongunism,” rather than the traditional “Kimjongilism” for the political ideology named after his late father, Kim Jong Il.
He has also removed photos of his late father and grandfather from a Workers’ Party conference room, the Seoul spies told lawmakers.
It comes as Kim appears to be going through the toughest stretch of his 10-year rule due to economic hardships worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.
It includes a food-shortage emergency that residents have been warned is likely to continue for another three years, recent reports said.
According to the NIS, North Korea’s annual trade with China, its main ally and economic lifeline, declined by two-thirds to $185 million through September this year compared to the previous year, Ha said.
North Korean officials are struggling to deal with soaring prices of goods and shortages of medicine and other essential supplies that have accelerated the spread of water-borne diseases such as typhoid fever.
The country has also been unable to import the paper and ink it uses to print banknotes, forcing North Korean officials to issue temporary currency, according to Ha’s account of the NIS briefing.
With Post wires