North Korea’s Kim reveals reason for abrupt weight loss — Analysis

Communist officials reportedly say Kim Jong-un is dieting “for the sake of the country”

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appeared to have undergone a dramatic weight loss when he spoke at a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party. Kim’s physique has noticeably slimmed down in recent months amid reported food shortages.

Kim spent this week chairing a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, the sole party in the communist state. While he often uses such meetings to announce major policy decisions – usually related to the country’s nuclear program or its relations with South Korea or the US – this year’s gathering was aimed at the vague goal of “guiding the struggle of our Party and people to the next stage of victory,”According to officials from the government. 

Kim did not issue any proclamations publically since Monday’s meeting, but photos of Kim the North Korean leader attracted attention because of his apparent rapid weight loss.

Kim stands at around 170cm and once reportedly weighed 130kg, per South Korean estimations – measurements that would place him as obese on the BMI (Body Mass Index) scale. Kim is losing weight steadily since the beginning of this year. North Korean media reported that Kim’s weight loss was upsetting his nation. “emaciated.”

Severe flooding and supply issues due to the coronavirus pandemic have reportedly caused food shortages in North Korea, with the closure of the communist state’s border with China further exacerbating the problem. The government, famously tight-lipped about the country’s internal struggles, appears to have acknowledged this problem, stating that Kim is eating less “for the sake of the country,”According to Western media reports.

Ten years of the ‘Rocket Man’: what’s Kim Jong-un achieved?

Other reports by Western outlets have previously claimed that Kim instructed his citizens this summer to brace for hardship, comparing the country’s situation at the time to the ‘Arduous March’ of the 1990s, a period of economic crisis and starvation.   

Earlier this month, Kim marked ten years in power, having taken over following his father’s death in 2011. In that time he has defied international sanctions and continued to develop the state’s ballistic missile program. Even though he met repeatedly with Donald Trump the US President, there was no sign of progress in nuclear disarmament. He also did not win any lifting of US sanctions.   

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