North Korea’s Head of State Kim Jong Un attended an event Thursday to celebrate his country’s 73rd anniversary and made headlines for what appears to be a significant amount of weight loss.
The event lacked some of the usual military fanfare, and focused instead on healthcare workers wearing hazmat suits to show a “display of force” against COVID-19, according to The New York Post.
“It’s striking how much healthier Kim Jong Un is looking in these photos from yesterday. However he is doing it — and there are theories — he looks a lot better than he did a few months ago,” Journalist Martyn Williams tweeted.
It’s striking how much healthier Kim Jong Un is looking in these photos from yesterday. However he is doing it — and there are theories — he looks a lot better than he did a few months ago. pic.twitter.com/DKqCOFSBF8
— Martyn Williams (@martyn_williams) September 9, 2021
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service estimates that he has lost up to 44 pounds, The New York Post reported. The dictator’s health has become a concern for the U.S. and South Korea, as well as for North Korean intelligence agencies because he has yet to name a successor. The leader’s family has a history of heart problems with his father and grandfather both dying from heart issues, as previously reported.
What a difference 5 weeks makes! North Korea’s Kim Jong Un had not been seen in public for about a month. He’s now reappeared looking considerably thinner. Kim’s weight matters to spy agencies. Kim’s health affects regional security. His father & grandfather died of heart attacks pic.twitter.com/0cMjQFzzyB
— Will Ripley (@willripleyCNN) June 10, 2021
North Korea faces food shortages due to the pandemic, flooding and international sanctions. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said in June that North Korea was projected to face 2.3 months of food shortages, as previously reported. (RELATED: Kim Jong Un Reportedly Introduces Ban Against ‘Non-Socialist’ Haircuts)
“The parade shows that the government felt a need to build unity domestically — the population is clearly suffering amid the pandemic and social complaints are likely building up,” said South Korean analyst Hong Min, The New York Post reported.