North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has reappeared with a noticeably leaner appearance, prompting many to speculate that he may be on the decline in health.
North Korean observers have expressed concern over leader Kim Jong-un’s apparent weight loss, which some speculate may be a sign of deteriorating health.
You New York Post reports that the despot looked noticeably slimmer in photos released by state media – after not being seen publicly for a month, the Guardian reported.
Based in South Korea NK News, who analyzed photos of Kim addressing a ruling party politburo meeting last week, said he appeared to have lost a “significant amount of weight.”
If she has intentionally lost weight for health reasons, that “probably improves her position at home,” said Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT, to the outlet.
Being safer at home “in turn provides greater predictability perhaps for regional actors like Japan, ROK and the US who may have more confidence that he will direct the show,” said Narang.
However, it is a very different perspective if it is due to health problems.
“If (the sudden weight loss)]is due to a health condition, however, the struggle for his succession may already be happening behind the scenes and that volatility could be a problem for the outside world” if he were to die suddenly, Mr Narang said.
NK News“Forensic analysis of the images suggests that Kim looked thinner and the luxury watch she often wears seemed to be buckled more securely than before.
The South Korean National Intelligence Service reportedly told politicians in November that it believed Kim weighed 140 kg and had “gained an average of 6-7 kilograms per year” since he came to power in late 2011.
“On the surface, a noticeable weight loss might not mean much, but it can provide clues to other information that intelligence collectors are looking for,” said Mike Brodka, an intelligence officer for the US Special Operations Command in South Korea. NK News.
“It could be a simple matter of a healthy lifestyle change or a more complex matter,” Brodka said.
“Right now, we don’t know, but it raises serious enough questions that we have to pay attention to events over the next couple of months to find out.”
Kim, a heavy smoker, has struggled with health conditions that observers have linked to her weight and lifestyle, the Guardian noticed.
In 2014, he disappeared for nearly six weeks before reappearing with a walking stick. Days later, the South Korean spy agency claimed that he had undergone surgery to remove a cyst from his ankle.
And a three-week absence last spring sparked rumors that he had fallen seriously ill after undergoing heart surgery, although a more plausible theory was that he had just isolated himself during the coronavirus pandemic.
This article originally appeared on New York Post and is republished here with permission