Is he thinner, leaner and healthier? Or is he gaunt and sickly? Perhaps he previously suffered a bout of coronavirus which is believed to be ravaging the country also amid severe food scarcity concerns? Or is it stress due to the worsening food and economic crisis in the country? Perhaps he's just really hitting that treadmill hard.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's appearance is once again setting off widespread speculation over his health. A new Associated Press report calls him "noticeably slimmer" as the latest side-by-side photographs showing a quick months-long transformation show...
North Korean state media issued new photos of Kim on Saturday, after the strongman ruler hadn't been seen publicly for a month.
South Korea-based NK News published this week a series of side-by-side photo sets while analyzing the likely degree of the weight loss and what it could mean, writing that:
"Though often the subject of less serious online commentary, Kim’s weight and health are closely watched by foreign intelligence agencies, including South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS)."
And The Associated Press at the same time questioned:
Has he gained even more weight? Is he struggling for breath after relatively short walks? What about that cane? Why did he miss that important state anniversary?
Now, the 37-year-old faces fresh speculation in the South about his health again. But this time, it’s because he’s noticeably slimmer.
A thinner looking Kim...
On a national level, it's been confirmed that there his a major food crisis looming, as CNN details Thursday:
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has admitted his country is facing food shortages that he blamed on last year's typhoon and floods, just months after he warned North Koreans about a looming potential crisis.
Kim told the plenary meeting of the Workers' Party of Korea the nation was experiencing a "tense food situation," Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Wednesday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called his country’s food situation “tense”. He blamed the coronavirus pandemic and last year’s typhoons for the food shortages. pic.twitter.com/jwsraCxUmm— SCMP News (@SCMPNews) June 17, 2021
For over the past year North Korea has been even more isolated than usual, with Pyongyang having ordered a total closure of all borders in efforts to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading - a drastic move which at the same time has resulted in less food and medicines making it in.