Kim Jong Un looks slimmer as he addresses North Korean officials12/29/2021
Kim Jong Un continues to look slimmer than ever as he addresses officials on North Korea’s ‘next stage of victory’ amid economic crisis caused by Covid and sanctions
- Kim Jong Un is looking slimmer than ever in new photos released by state media
- They were taken at a key ruling party meeting where he makes policy decisions
- North Korean media insisted the despot is eating less ‘for the sake of the country’
- It comes after speculation arose earlier this year that the dictator is ill
- Many of North Korea’s 25 million inhabitants face countrywide starvation
- But Kim has been heavily overweight throughout his entire ten-year reign
Kim Jong Un is looking slimmer than ever in new photos released by state media yesterday.
The North Korean leader, 37, appeared noticeably trim in the photos released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), which were taken during a key ruling party meeting – a forum he has previously used to make major New Year policy announcements.
The meeting, in which government officials discussed ‘guiding the struggle of our Party and people to the next stage of victory’, comes as North Korea grapples with compounding economic crises caused by Covid lockdowns, sanctions over its nuclear weapons programme and natural disasters.
It also comes as North Korea marks the 10th anniversary of Kim assuming supreme command of the military after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in 2011.
Government authorities have insisted the despot is eating less ‘for the sake of the country’ as it grapples with severe food shortages and claimed Kim is healthy, after speculation about Kim’s health started earlier this year amid news he had shed over 40lbs.
It comes after state TV said Kim’s ’emaciated’ condition was ‘breaking our people’s hearts’, despite many of North Korea’s 25 million inhabitants battling countrywide starvation and systemic oppression.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pictured looking noticeably slimmer during a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party in this photo released on December 28, 2021 by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks considerably larger in these photos (left, dated January 1, 2019 // right, dated March 6, 2020)
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, attends a meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party in Pyongyang, North Korea on Monday, Dec. 27, 2021. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government
South Korea’s spy agency reported Kim (pictured in 2018) had bulked up to 285 pounds, having piled on considerable weight since taking power in 2011 ‘binging on food and drink’. State media attributes his weight loss to ‘eating less to help the country’
KCNA said Tuesday that leader Kim Jong Un presided over a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party, but did not give any remarks made by Kim at the meeting from which journalists were barred.
‘The plenary meeting is to review the implementation of main Party and state policies for the year 2021,’ the report said.
The meeting would also discuss and decide on strategic and tactical policies and practical steps for ‘dynamically guiding the struggle of our Party and people to usher in a new period of the development of socialist construction to the next stage of victory,’ KCNA said.
The impoverished, nuclear-armed country has been hit by severe flooding in recent years which has left families without homes and is currently tackling a food crisis as the nation struggles to feed itself amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kim in October told his citizens that they must expect to eat less food until the country re-opens its border with China in 2025, despite the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimating that North Korea is short around 860,000 tons of food this year alone.
A North Korean resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: ‘Telling us to endure hardship until 2025 is the same as telling us to starve to death’.
A second source claimed that the North Korean government is attempting to spin the food shortages as a result of their effective Covid-19 strategy, which they say has worked well.
The government has blamed external factors for their food shortages though, citing sanctions imposed on them, natural disasters and the global coronavirus pandemic.
State media and government officials have said that Kim Jong Un’s apparent weight loss is symptomatic of his desire to ‘eat less to help the country’ amid the food shortages, and in August banned citizens from discussing it, labelling gossip as a ‘reactionary act’.
Analysts say the remarks showed authorities were seeking to use the change to Kim’s weight to reinforce loyalty to the regime in desperate times.
Rumours that his weight loss could be a result of an illness were sparked earlier this year, but reignited in November after a slimmer Kim made his first public appearance in over a month – the longest absence in seven years from public glare.
An undated photo shows a severely overweight Kim Jong Un smiling as he is surrounded by hysterical female soldiers
Kim in October told his citizens that they must expect to eat less food until the country re-opens its border with China in 2025, despite the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimating that North Korea is short around 860,000 tons of food this year alone (undated photo of Kim Jong Un)
People bow during a three minutes silence to pay their respects towards portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, to mark the ten year anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il, the father of current leader Kim Jong Un, at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on December 17, 2021.
Last year, North Korea suffered severe flooding which damaged vital crops and left hundreds of families without homes. This year, crops were also damaged by droughts and subsequent flooding.
It remains to be seen whether the country’s dire food shortages will factor into any decisions taken at this week’s plenary meeting, which could last for days.
Kim has often made major policy announcements around the New Year, including in 2018 when he announced a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, and in 2019, when he discussed his desire to continue talks with then-U.S. President Donald Trump.
Since his father and longtime ruler Kim Jong Il’s death in December 2011, Kim Jong Un has established absolute power at home and fortified North Korea’s nuclear and missile arsenals.
Sexual assault, abortions without anaesthesia and starvation: Female North Korean soldier reveals hell women face in Kim Jong Un’s army where they suffer ‘relentless abuse’
The harrowing testimony of an escaped North Korean reveals the torment women face in Kim Jong Un’s army – including sexual abuse, abortions without anaesthesia and starvation rations.
The former soldier, who gave her name as Jennifer Kim, said female fighters also had to use soggy footwraps as sanitary pads, and endured cruel and unusual collective punishments.
One punishment involved dipping the hands in freezing water, then having to hang from an iron bar which froze on to the palms, causing the flesh to tear off when released.
She estimated that 70% of women in North Korea’s army had been victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment – including herself.
Surviving on no more than three of four spoonfuls of corn a day, Jennifer was so malnourished that her period came only once every four to six months.
The former soldier, who gave her name as Jennifer Kim, demonstrates a punishment where women were forced to dip their hands in freezing water before being made to hang on a cold iron bar
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