When North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un spoke at the third meeting of the eighth Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang on June 17 and stressed the need to be prepared for both dialogue and confrontation with the U.S., the world saw a “suddenly thin image” that is rare among North Korean leaders of all generations.
While North Korean observers around the world are analyzing whether Kim Jong-un’s sudden weight loss is caused by his illness or a fitness diet, the North Korean people, who are “bathed in the light of the Juche idea of socialism,” are also talking about the sudden change in the leader’s figure and face shape.
According to a Reuters report from Seoul, North Korean official media quoted an unnamed Pyongyang resident as saying last week that the entire country was distressed by Kim Jong Un’s slimmer appearance after seeing recent videos of him.
In a country where discussing the leader’s health or private life has always been taboo, it is unusual for North Korean official media to publicly report public concern about Kim Jong Un’s health.
In an interview with North Korea’s Central Television, the unnamed Pyongyang man said, “Our people’s hearts are broken to see the fading appearance of the revered general secretary.” “Everyone is telling how they are constantly in tears,” he said.
As Kim Jong Un has been bent on developing nuclear weapons for years, for which he has spent a lot of financial resources and been subjected to harsh U.S. sanctions, economic development has been difficult and the population is largely dependent on the United Nations and other countries for relief. After the outbreak of the new epidemic, Kim Jong-un closed the border between North Korea and China early last year to prevent the epidemic, which also closed North Korea’s only economic lifeline to foreign countries, adding to the North Korean economy’s woes.
The North Korean government admitted earlier this month that the country is facing a food crisis and that North Korea’s agriculture has been unable to feed North Koreans for many years due to mismanagement and mismanagement, as well as constant natural disasters.
At a meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea on June 17, Kim Jong-un had said he wanted to provide a stable life for the people and solve the difficulties in a timely manner. And the biggest difficulty of the North Korean people is the inability to feed their bellies.
Observers of North Korea believe that the official media of the DPRK broke the taboo of not discussing the leader’s health condition, possibly in order to lead the people’s discussion in the direction of “Kim Jong-un wasting away for the people” and that the people should be more loyal to the Workers’ Party, to the DPRK government and to Kim Jong-un at a time when life is very difficult.
An Kang-il, director of the International Institute for Korean Studies and a “defector” who fled North Korea, said in an interview with AFP that “the message the authorities in Pyongyang want to send is that Kim Jong-un is a leader who works hard to serve the people and that he can’t even eat for the sake of the people, which is why he has lost weight. “. The otherwise starving North Korean people might have complained less loudly when they thought that Kim Jong-un was starving to the point of wasting, just like them.
Kim Jong-un’s very rare absence from the celebration of his grandfather Kim Il-sung’s birth anniversary on April 15 last year had sparked speculation and debate about his health status; in 2014, Kim Jong-un also sparked widespread concern because of his long absence from public appearances. In a rare move, official television admitted that Kim Jong-un was feeling “unwell” in a report that was seen as a “hint” that he was ill. Shortly thereafter, in a pre-recorded documentary broadcast on official television, footage showed Kim Jong-un having difficulty walking.
Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il, and his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, both suffered from obesity and both died of heart disease.
The health of the 37-year-old Kim Jong-un is believed to be of global concern because if something were to happen to him, regime change and the stability of the country would be in question.
In 2016, South Korean intelligence agencies revealed that Kim Jong-un weighed 130 kilograms, an increase of 40 kilograms from 2011, when he first came to power, due to “excessive eating and drinking. Last year, South Korean intelligence agencies believe that Kim Jong Un gained another 10 kilograms, weighing more than 140 kilograms.
According to the commentary, the North Korean government wants the world to believe that Kim Jong-un’s weight loss is not due to his medical condition, but that he lost weight because he worked for the North Korean people and forgot to eat and drink; and that the North Korean people truly love their leader and would rather maintain Kim Jong-un’s big belly despite their hunger. When they see Kim Jong-un losing a little weight, they immediately break their hearts and shed tears.
It seems that if Kim Jong-un wants to continue to win the love of the North Korean people, he needs to continue to “forget to eat and sleep” to lose weight.