North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently lost about 20 kilograms (44 pounds) but remains in good health and is trying to build public loyalty to him in the face of worsening economic problems, the agency said. South Korean espionage to lawmakers.
The National Intelligence Service gave its assessment in a closed-door parliamentary briefing Thursday, it used artificial intelligence techniques, analysis of Kim’s super-resolution video and other methods to investigate the Kim state, said two lawmakers who attended the session.
Kim’s health has received a lot of outside attention in recent months, as he has appeared noticeably thinner in photos and videos from state media. Kim, 37, has not publicly named a successor and some experts say a sudden incapacity could spark chaos in the impoverished nuclear-weapon country.
Despite Kim’s slimmer appearance, longtime observers from North Korea said Kim had no apparent health issues and that her weight loss was likely the result of her efforts to improve her physique. They noted that he had continued his regular public activities and that no unusual developments were seen in the North Korean videos.
But unconfirmed rumors about him continued to emerge, with a tabloid claiming recent public appearances used an impostor. The NIS dismissed the report as baseless, said lawmaker Kim Byung-kee.
He said the NIS told the parliamentary session that Kim’s weight increased from around 140 kilograms (308 pounds) to 120 kilograms (264 pounds). The NIS previously said Kim was around 170 centimeters (5 feet, 8 inches) tall.
He said Kim had been participating in public activities for 70 days so far this year, a 45% increase from the same period last year.
Lawmakers said the NIS discovered Kim had photos of his late father and grandfather – who ruled North Korea before him – removed from a Workers’ Party conference room.
Another lawmaker, Ha Tae-keung, quoted the NIS as saying that North Korea has started using the term “Kimjongunism,” a political ideology named after Kim Jong-un that is independent of existing ideologies named after his father and grandfather, “Kimjongilism” and “Kimilsungism”.
After around 10 years in office, Kim is struggling to overcome what appears to be the most difficult period of his reign caused by economic hardship made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.
North Korea’s annual trade with China, its main ally and economic lifeline, fell by two-thirds to $ 185 million through September this year, compared to the previous year, according to NIS. , said Ha.
North Korean authorities are struggling to cope with soaring commodity prices and shortages of medicines and other essential supplies that have accelerated the spread of water-borne illnesses such as typhoid fever. The country has also been unable to import the paper and ink it uses to print banknotes, forcing North Korean officials to issue temporary currency, according to Ha. on the NIS briefing.
While reduced trade has limited the supply of materials needed for industrial activity, North Korean officials are pushing workers to increase production. The plant’s excessive operations sparked an explosion at a major fertilizer plant in August, Ha said, citing the NIS.
The NIS corroborated recent World Health Organization reports that North Korea is starting to ease its strict border restrictions from Covid-19 to receive outside aid.
North Korea has yet to report any cases of the coronavirus. As experts questioned his claim of a perfect case, Ha said the NIS had yet to see any signs of a major Covid-19 outbreak.
Despite its tough border controls linked to the virus, North Korea has not shown the same type of urgent need for vaccines, as mass vaccinations continue to be delayed due to global shortages.
Ha said North Korea had rejected foreign offers of Russian and Chinese vaccines. The lawmaker said the NIS also determined that North Korea had not shown interest in obtaining Pfizer vaccines, which would require negotiations with the drug maker and the United States.