South Korean Analyst Says Kim Jong Un’s Health Issues Are Unlikely Amid Weight Loss Speculation
Images of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un circulating on the internet suggest that the 37-year-old has dropped a significant amount of weight.
This has sparked speculation about Kim’s health, especially since he has not named a successor to take over if he becomes incapacitated.
Kim’s weight loss, according to Hong Min, a senior analyst at Seoul’s Korea Institute for National Unification, is more likely due to improving his health than a symptom of serious sickness.
“He wouldn’t have come out in public to convene the plenary meeting of the Workers’ Party’s Central Committee,” a major political conference this week, if he was suffering from health concerns, Hong claimed.
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Kim comes from a family with a history of heart problems and is known for binge drinking and smoking. His grandpa and father, who both governed North Korea before him, died of heart problems. His weight, according to experts, may raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The Unification Ministry of South Korea stated it has no information regarding Kim’s health to disclose. In South Korea, his leaner appearance has piqued public interest, with media outlets sharing images of his prior and current appearances.
According to Seo Yu-Seok of the Institute of North Korean Studies in Seoul, the North Korean government’s recent formation of a first secretary of the ruling Workers’ Party, the country’s No. 2 position, could be linked to Kim’s suspected health difficulties. Kim may have agreed to the post’s creation at the behest of top officials, but he has yet to name someone to the position because it could weaken his grasp on power, according to him.
“Who will name the first secretary if Kim has a serious health problem and is unable to express his opinions, despite the fact that he is not dead?” Seo remarked.
When global suspicion over Kim’s health erupted last year after he missed the observance of his late grandfather’s birthday, several observers thought that Kim Yo Jong, Kim’s younger sister, was next in line to inherit her brother’s authority. Others said that collective leadership might be an option.