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Kim Jong Un’s dramatic weight loss very noticeable in new photos

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un is thought to have lost around 40Ibs (Picture: AP)

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un looks slimmer than ever in new photos released by state media this week.

The dramatic weight loss, which has been noticeable for months, has fanned rumours that he is having health issues. 

But authorities have insisted Kim is in good shape and is simply eating less ‘for the sake of the country,’ which is grappling with severe food shortages. 

The photos, released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), were taken during a key ruling party meeting – a forum usually used by the ruler to make major New Year policy announcements.

The Workers’ Party’s Central Committee met to decide policies meant to ‘guide the struggle of our party and people … to the next stage of victory,’ according to the KCNA.

The agency did not carry any remarks by Kim.

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers??? Party in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. This photo provided by the North Korean government shows X at an undisclosed location in North Korea on X, 2020. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads:
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks noticeably slimmer (Picture: AP)
This picture taken on December 28, 2021 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 29 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attending the second-day sitting of the 4th Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea at the Party Central Committee Headquarters in Pyongyang. (Photo by KCNA VIA KNS / AFP) / - South Korea OUT / ---EDITORS NOTE--- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT
The pictures of the slimmed-down leader were taken during a key ruling party meeting (Picture: AFP)

The meeting comes as North Korea grapples with a series of economic crises caused by Covid lockdowns, sanctions over its nuclear weapons programme and natural disasters.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated North Korea is short 860,000 tonnes of food this year alone, the equivalent to approximately 2.3 months of food use.

Citizens have been ordered to start producing their own food to prepare for a shortage that could last as long as three years. 

In October people were told they should expect to eat less food until the country reopens its border with China in 2025.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un chairs a session of the 4th plenary meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), in this photo released on December 29, 2021 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
The weight loss comes as the country grapples with severe food shortages (Picture: Reuters)
FILE - In this undated file photo provided by the North Korean government on April 12, 2020, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects an air defense unit in western area, North Korea. The North on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, urged its 1.2 million troops to unite behind leader Kim and defend him with their lives, as the country celebrated the 10th anniversary of his ascension to supreme commander of the military. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)
A photo of Kim in April 2020, before she starting shedding weight (Picture: AP)

Despite concern that children will be orphaned and some will starve to death, state media reported in summer that Kim’s ’emaciated’ condition was ‘breaking our people’s hearts’.

An unidentified resident in the capital Pyongyang was quoted as saying slimmed down images of Mr Kim had upset people across the nation.

South Korea’s spy agency believes Kim’s weight loss is part of a ploy to increase public loyalty in the face of worsening problems.

The country’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) used artificial intelligence techniques to analyse images of Kim and believe he has lost at least 40Ibs.

FILE - In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves as he attended a military parade, marking the ruling party congress, at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, Jan. 14, 2021. North Korea on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, urged its 1.2 million troops to unite behind leader Kim Jong Un and defend him with their lives, as the country celebrated the 10th anniversary of his ascension to supreme commander of the military. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads:
Analysts believe the weight loss could be a ploy to increase loyalty (Picture: AP)

NIS told a parliamentary session in October that his weight has fallen from about 140 kilograms (308 pounds) to 120 kilograms (264 pounds).

Mr Kim’s health is a frequent source of speculation and his heavy frame has drawn global interest since he became the country’s leader a decade ago.

The NIS have previously said they believe Mr Kim weighed 90kg when he came to power in 2011 and had gained an average of 6 to 7kg a year since then.

Last April he was not seen publicly for about 20 days following heart surgery, sparking rumours he had died.

However, he has made a number of appearances since then.

Some experts say Kim has been grappling with the toughest moment of his 10-year rule due to the pandemic, UN sanctions and his own mismanagement.

This week officials urged North Korea’s 1.2 million troops to unite behind the leader and defend him ‘with their lives’ as the country celebrated the 10th anniversary of Mr Kim’s ascension to supreme commander of the military.

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, attends a meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers??? Party in Pyongyang, North Korea on Monday, Dec. 27, 2021. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. Korean language watermark on image as provided by source reads:
North Korea is grappling with a series of crises including food shortages and sanctions (Picture: AP)

In a lengthy editorial, the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said that North Korea’s military commanders and soldiers must become an ‘impregnable fortress and bulletproof walls in devotedly defending (Mr Kim) with their lives’.

It also called for building a more modernised, advanced military that serves as a ‘reliable guardian of our state and people’.

The editorial said all of North Korea’s troops and people must uphold Mr Kim’s leadership to establish a powerful socialist country.

North Korea has previously issued similar propaganda-heavy statements urging people to rally behind Mr Kim in times of difficulties.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.









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