Kim Jong Un's apparent weight loss has left everyone in North Korea “heartbroken”, according to the country's tightly controlled state media. The public comment on Kim's health came after foreign analysts noted in early June that he appeared thinner.
The autocratic leader, who was not being seen in public for almost a month, reappeared in state media in June. He presided over a meeting of the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, warning of a dire food situation in the country. Later, he said he was ready for “both dialogue and confrontation" with the United States, reacting to the Joe Biden administration’s new policy on how to deal with the country’s growing nuclear and missile threat, reported state news media.
After his appearance, analysts at NK News, a Seoul-based website that monitors North Korea, noted that Kim's watch appeared to be fastened more tightly than before around an apparently slimmer wrist, according to a Reuters’ report.
His weight is tracked by international media, spy agencies, and specialists looking for clues about his grip on power in North Korea, especially since his family has a history of heart disease, it said.
A few weeks later Reuters reported an interview shared by state broadcaster KRT of an unidentified resident of Pyongyang. "Seeing respected general secretary (Kim Jong Un) looking emaciated breaks our people's heart so much," the man said. "Everyone is saying that their tears welled up," he said.
In the clip, which Reuters could not independently verify, Pyongyang residents were seen watching a big screen on the street showing a concert attended by Kim and party officials after a plenary meeting of their Workers' Party of Korea (WPK).
This is not the first time that speculations have raised over Kim’s health. It had happened in 2020 after Kim missed the birth anniversary celebrations of state founder Kim Il Sung on April 15, only to reappear in public in early May.
Following this, a report said that Kim Jong-Un was in grave danger after undergoing surgery. The report was later called "groundless" by Seoul's National Intelligence Service (NIS). "He was normally performing his duties when he was out of the public eye," committee member Kim Byung-kee was quoted as saying.