North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has ballooned to nearly 300 pounds since taking office due in no small part to the constant fear of assassination, South Korea’s Intelligence Agency says.
Kim fears reprisals for several of his executions of high level North Korean officials. His high profiles murders have reportedly included using flamethrowers, poison, ravenous dogs, and in one case he used an anti-aircraft gun to obliterate the former North Korean defense minister (though these reports are notoriously unreliable). Kim justified the execution citing the defense ministers tendency to take naps in official meeting as “disrespectful behavior.”
“He keeps a close tab on any potential threats to his power, including the military, and he is obsessed with ensuring his personal safety,” member of South Korea’s leading government Lee Cheol-woo told reporters. Lee added, “Because of his habitual binge eating and drinking, he is likely to develop adult [lifestyle] diseases.”
Last month Kim was photographed smoking a cigarette amidst a public government campaign to curb smoking among North Korea’s population. Kim is reportedly a heavy smoker, despite public statements by his father that smoking was one of “the three main fools of the 20th century.” Kim’s obesity, insomnia, and heavy cigarette habit may lead to health problems which will further destabilize the North Korean regime.
Kim’s father, Kim Jong-Il was reportedly so terrified of being assassinated he refused to fly on planes, and used a heavily armored train instead. The consistent paranoia reflects the tenuous hold the Kim family holds on power within North Korea. While the leader is the public face of the government, they reflect an ossified regime that controls every facet of state affairs. If the internal regime is dissatisfied with the current leader, it could turn on Kim in favor of one of his siblings. Michael Madden, a North Korea expert told The Guardian “Internally, there does not seem to be any respect for Kim Jong-un within the core and middle levels of the North Korean leadership.”
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