June 10, 2021

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Kim Jong-un seems to have lost some weight and that could have geopolitical consequences

Kim Jong un seems to have lost some weight and that
(Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
(Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

The baggy suit seems to be a bit more so these days.

After no one had seen him in public for almost a month, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, reappeared Saturday on state media and wearing noticeably thinner.

Analysts and foreign intelligence agencies have long been watching what little information is leaking out of North Korea, looking for clues about what might be going on in the bowels of the hermit kingdom. But after the closure of the country’s borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kim’s observers seem to have taken his waistline: seemingly thinner than usual.

If Kim just lost weight to be healthier, then that’s probably “provide more predictability, perhaps for regional players like Japan, (South Korea) and the US, who may have more confidence in your leadership“Said Vipin Narang to NK News.

“However,” he warned, “if (the sudden weight loss) is due to a health problem, it’s very likely that the maneuvers for your succession are already happening behind the scenes, and that volatility could pose a problem for the outside world”Added Narang, professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (WITH).

Kim Jong-un reappeared in public after a month
Kim Jong-un reappeared in public after a month

NK News compared enlarged images of Kim’s wrist that were taken in the past seven months. In a photograph taken in November, the leader’s $ 12,000 IWC Portofino Automatic watch seemed to fit perfectly with the shape of her wrist.

However, the most recent photos show Kim wearing the watch with more leash to spare, which would reinforce the theory of possible weight loss.

It’s not the first time Kim’s images have been scrutinized for signs that tell more about her health. This is just one more attempt of many. But they all seek the same thing: to learn more about the enigmatic man that many tend to imagine always sitting on an imposing nuclear arsenal.

Why was Kim limping in the 2014 images? North Korea digitally edited its left ear? are just a few examples of recurring questions among his spies.


When the dictator met with the South Korean president Moon Jae-in In 2018, a South Korean newspaper asked seven experts that they will spend hours reviewing images in search of clues about the media leader. The investigation suggested that Kim used templates to appear taller.

When the North Korean leader reappeared last year aboard a golf cart, rumors pointing to a serious illness were dispelled. However, some medical experts speculated that a small mark on your wrist was an unmistakable sign that he had undergone a medical procedure.

Even his ascension in 2011 was shrouded in mystery, as US officials were unaware of his father’s death for two days. It was until the regime announced it.

When images of Kim himself are not available, analysts and detectives turn to satellite images looking for signals on their planes, caravans, trains, and ships.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo
REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

In a country like North Korea, there is no noise when it comes to luxury facilities“Said Colin Zwirko of the specialized news and analysis service NK Pro, a The Washington Post. That only happens at the Kim family facility. There are no other people who have the possibility to freely enjoy boat parties or have mansions in remote places“.

Kim’s health has long been a constant concern given her body weight, that South Korean intelligence has estimated at almost 130 kilos, and his strong habit of smoking. But it also has the best medical care North Korea can muster and the ability to turn to experts from Russia or China, who have close ties to the Pyongyang regime.

A sign that was interpreted by an expert as an attempt to show that he was worthy of himself, occurred when the North Korean Workers’ Party recently removed from his government a reference to the legacy of Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, and father, Kim Jong Il.

Relations remain tense between Pyongyang and the United States: when President Biden called Kim’s nuclear program a “serious threat to United States security and world security”, And promised to respond by “Diplomacy and severe deterrence”, North Korea replied.

Biden’s comments were “intolerable“And reflected the”usual story”From the United States, declared Kwon Jong Gun, head of the US affairs department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.