| 5 March 2024, Tuesday |

Questions raised again about Kim’s health

North Korean ruler Kim Jong’s health is once again a debating point as he was seen lately during a meeting of the ruling party in Pyongyang , where he seemed to have shed some weight.

The NK News website, which follows from Seoul on what is happening in North Korea, analyzed photos of Kim from the meeting, and reported that he appeared to have lost “a significant amount of his weight”. The site also posted photos of his left wrist, which looks very thin compared to photos taken in November 2020 and March this year. In the photos, it appears that Kim even tightened the watch strap.

Since becoming the leader of the isolated country about a decade ago, Kim’s weight has aroused worldwide interest. South Korea’s national intelligence service last year estimated sacks weighing 140 kilograms, and has accumulated an average of 6.5 kilograms a year since coming to power in late 2011.

It is not clear if Kim’s new appearance is the result of an illness or a conscious decision to lose weight. A North Korean expert told NK News that Kim may have decided to lose weight to improve his status in North Korea. The country is struggling with severe food shortages and an economic crisis created by cuts in trade with China during the Corona plague, a series of natural disasters and international sanctions imposed in response to the regime’s nuclear programs.

This is not the first time that questions have been raised about Kim’s health. In 2014 he disappeared for more than a month, and later he was seen on North Korean television broadcasts marching with lameness. A three-week absence last spring has sparked rumors that he has been seriously ill after heart surgery and even some reports have pointed to his death. After appearing in public again, South Korea estimated that Kim had secluded himself with his family as a precaution against the corona.