Kim Jong-un healthy despite losing 20kg and not using body double, South Korea’s spy agency tells lawmakers

North Korean leader reportedly wants to improve his physique and command more public loyalty

Maroosha Muzaffar
Friday 29 October 2021 11:35
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Related video: Kim Jong-un attends North Korea parliament session

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has lost about 20 kilos, but appeared to be doing well with no impact on his health, confirmed South Korea’s intelligence agency.

Public appearances of the leader earlier in September showed he looked considerably slimmer, something South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) confirmed during a closed-door parliamentary briefing on Thursday.

The intelligence agency also said the images of Mr Kim were not those of a body double, as some observers had earlier claimed.

NIS officials used artificial intelligence techniques, analysed super-resolution videos of Mr Kim and adopted other methods to investigate the North Korean leader’s condition, two lawmakers who attended the session were quoted as saying by local media.

The spy agency also said Mr Kim had reduced his weight to 120kg from an earlier 140kg in 2019, according to Kim Byung-kee, one of the lawmakers.

His weight loss was the result of trying to improve his physique and an attempt to increase public loyalty, the lawmakers said, citing NIS officials.

After analysing videos, the officials concluded the leader of the hermit kingdom had continued with public activities and said there were no “unusual developments.”

Reports of Mr Kim using an imposter were false and “groundless”, said Mr Kim, the lawmaker, pointing to the NIS’s parliamentary briefing.

Ha Tae-keung, the other lawmaker, said North Korea has started using the term “Kimjongunism”, a political ideology named after Mr Kim. He said this ideology is independent of the ones coming from his father and grandfather, called “Kimjongilism” and “Kimilsungism” respectively.

Meanwhile, maintaining its narrative of zero Covid cases, North Korea has also refrained from showing any interest in obtaining vaccines from Pfizer. The spy agency’s officials said obtaining vaccines would require negotiations with the company and the US.

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