North Korean state TV acknowledges Kim Jong Un’s ’emaciated looks’
North Korean state television on Monday acknowledged leader Kim Jong Un’s “emaciated looks” as speculation around his suspected weight loss and health continues.
The Associated Press reports that the remarks were aired by state media that was quoting concerned North Korean citizens.
“Our people’s hearts ached most when we saw (Kim’s) emaciated looks,” North Korean state TV quoted an unidentified man as saying. “Everyone says their tears are welling up in their eyes naturally.”
When Kim, 37, made his first public appearance in a month earlier in June, international observers noticed what appeared to be significant weight loss.
South Korea-based newspaper NK News reported that it appeared that Kim had tightened the wrist strap on his favorite watch.
“On the surface, noticeable weight loss may not mean much, but it can provide clues to other information that intelligence collectors look for,” Mike Brodka, an intelligence officer for U.S. Special Operations Command in South Korea, told NK News.
One expert told NK News that an intentional weight loss could improve “his position at home,” thus providing “more predictability” for regional powers. However, if the weight loss was due to a health condition, then those around him may have already begun to take over his position.
A few weeks ago, Kim reportedly gave remarks at a meeting warning of possible food shortages.
“The people’s food situation is now getting tense as the agricultural sector failed to fulfill its grain production plan due to the damage by typhoon last year,” Kim reportedly said.