State TV: North Koreans are heartbroken by Kim’s ’emaciated look’

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Heartbroken North Koreans have tearfully worried about leader Kim Jong Un’s “emaciated appearance”, state media reports quoting a local resident, in rare acknowledgment of foreign speculation about his weight loss .

The comments were seen as an effort to build national support for Kim’s efforts as he grapples with worsening economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, mismanagement, economic sanctions from the UN and natural disasters, some experts said.

FILE - This combination of archive photos provided by the North Korean government shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at Workers' Party meetings in Pyongyang, North Korea on February 8, 2021, left, and the June 15, 2021. North Korean state TV quoted an unidentified resident as saying citizens are heartbroken because of Chief Kim "emaciated looks." The comments are a rare acknowledgment of outside speculation that Kim has recently lost a lot of weight.  Independent journalists were not allowed to cover the event depicted in this image released by the North Korean government.  The contents of this image are as supplied and cannot be independently verified.  (Korean Central News Agency / Korean News Service via AP, file)
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FILE – This combination of archive photos provided by the North Korean government shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at Workers’ Party meetings in Pyongyang, North Korea on February 8, 2021, left, and the June 15, 2021. North Korean state Television quoted an unidentified resident as saying citizens are heartbroken because of Leader Kim’s “gaunt gaze”. The comments are a rare acknowledgment of outside speculation that Kim has recently lost a lot of weight. Independent journalists were not allowed to cover the event depicted in this image released by the North Korean government. The contents of this image are as supplied and cannot be independently verified. (Korean Central News Agency / Korean News Service via AP, file)

“The hearts of our people suffered the most when we saw (Kim) ‘s emaciated gaze,” North Korean state television said Friday, citing an unidentified male resident wearing a straw hat. “Everyone says her tears naturally come to her eyes.”

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In recent photos from state media, Kim appears to have lost a lot of weight. Some North Korean observers have said that Kim, who is around 170 centimeters (5 feet and 8 inches) and previously weighed 140 kilograms (308 pounds), may have lost 10 to 20 kilograms (22 to 44 pounds).

Kim’s health is receiving keen attention from outside as the 37-year-old leader has not publicly named a successor to take charge of North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal targeting states – United and their allies if he is incapacitated.

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Some analysts in Seoul said Kim likely dieted to improve her health, while others speculated her weight loss could be linked to health issues.

Kim, known for her heavy drinking and smoking, comes from a family with a history of heart problems. His father and grandfather, who ruled North Korea before him, both died of heart problems.

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In recent months, Kim has called for stronger unity to overcome what he calls the “worst crisis ever” caused by pandemic-related border closures that have sharply reduced North Korea’s international trade. , persistent US-led sanctions and deadly summer storms. year.

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