Kim Jong-un’s slim figure is surprising

Appearing with a slim figure and radiant demeanor, Kim Jong-un seems to want to show the image of a strong leader, capable of carrying the country.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on September 9 presided over a military parade marking the 73rd anniversary of the country’s founding. In some photos released by North Korea’s official news agency KCNA, he is noticeably thinner, making his light-colored suit appear a bit loose.

The North Korean leader smiled, waved to the crowd and kissed children who gave him flowers before heading up to the stands to watch the parade. He always smiled and applauded whenever the parade passed, chatting animatedly with senior officials around.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un walks with two children during a military parade in Pyongyang on September 9.  Photo: AP.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un walks with two children during a military parade in Pyongyang on September 9. Photo: AP.

This is a significant change from 2018, when television images showed him seemingly out of breath as he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in climbed the sacred mountain Peaktu within the framework of the summit. third inter-Korean.

“His face is noticeably thinner and he moves much more smoothly,” said Park Won-gon, a professor of North Korean studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea.

“It is impressive to see Kim Jong-un much healthier in yesterday’s photos,” journalist and North Korea researcher Martyn Williams wrote on Twitter today. “He looks a lot better than he did a few months ago.”

Hong Kong-based reporter Ryan Chan meanwhile said he had “never seen Kim Jong-un in such good shape before”.

In June, Kim Jong-un also made headlines with his physique when he made his first public appearance after weeks of absence to chair a meeting of the Workers’ Party. Some North Korea watchers speculate he may have lost 10-20 kg because he looks significantly thinner.

Most experts believe that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un lost weight to get in shape, not a sign that he has health problems. Alternatively, this weight loss effort may also serve a political goal.

Kim Jong-un is facing perhaps his most difficult period after nearly 10 years in power, as North Korea grapples with sanctions from the West, food shortages caused by constant floods and the The Covid-19 epidemic caused the border to close, putting more pressure on the country’s economy.

In that context, Kim Jong-un’s important task now is to build the image of a young and strong leader who can bring the country out of trouble, according to Professor Park.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of Korean Studies in Seoul, said that with his weight loss and cheerful demeanor when appearing at the September 9 military parade, Kim Jong-un seemed to be trying to build a build the image of an “ordinary statesman”, who is not afraid to interact, close to the public.

“He’s still a husband, a father of three, and is in his 40s. So it’s not unusual for him to take care of his health,” Yang said.

“With the political system in North Korea, where the supreme leader decides everything, Kim Jong-un’s health is an extremely important security issue,” Park said. “There may have been internal concerns that he was overweight and Kim needs to allay that concern by presenting himself as a young, healthy leader who can handle all the work of the land. water”.

Vu Hoang (Follow, AP)


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