SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Heartbroken North Koreans tearfully worry about leader Kim Jong Un’s ’emaciated look’, state media say local resident is quoted in rare acknowledgment of foreign speculation on his weight loss.
The comments were seen as an effort to build national support for Kim’s efforts as he grapples with worsening economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, mismanagement, economic sanctions from the UN and natural disasters, some experts said.
“The hearts of our people suffered the most when we saw (Kim) ‘s emaciated gaze,” North Korean state television said Friday, citing an unidentified male resident wearing a straw hat. “Everyone says her tears naturally come to her eyes. “
In recent photos from state media, Kim appears to have lost a lot of weight. Some North Korean observers have said that Kim, who is around 170 centimeters (5 feet and 8 inches) and previously weighed 140 kilograms (308 pounds), may have lost 10 to 20 kilograms (22 to 44 pounds).
Kim’s health is the subject of much outside attention, as the 37-year-old leader has not publicly named a successor who would take charge of North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal targeting the United States and their allies if he is incapacitated.
Some analysts in Seoul said Kim likely dieted to improve her health, while others speculated her weight loss could be linked to health issues.
Kim, known for her heavy drinking and smoking, comes from a family with a history of heart problems. His father and grandfather, who ruled North Korea before him, both died of heart problems.
In recent months, Kim has called for stronger unity to overcome what he calls the “worst crisis ever” caused by pandemic-related border closures that have sharply reduced North Korea’s international trade. , persistent US-led sanctions and deadly summer storms. year.