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  • This is North Korean state media footage of leader Kim, Jong-un from July last year.

  • And this is him about a year later, where he appears to look thinner.

  • Kim's weight loss has gotten a lot of people alarmed.

  • From citizens.

  • [Korean] We were most heart-broken when we saw our dear General Secretary had become emaciated.

  • And some North Korean experts have raised questions about his weight loss and what that means for the Kim regime.

  • We don't know precisely why Kim, Jong-un has shed some pounds, but what's clear is how Kim Jong-un's thinner figure is being used as propaganda inside North Korea.

  • South Korean Spy Agency estimates believe that Kim, Jong-un has gained about 14 pounds a year since taking over as the country's leader nearly a decade ago.

  • This weight gain is intentional.

  • North Koreans like their leaders to be plump.

  • Also, Kim, Jong-un has tried to style himself, both literally and figuratively, like his grandfather, Kim, Il-sung, who is revered across North Korea.

  • But these are tough times for the Kim regime.

  • They're battling with the pandemic, but the regime has decided to seal off its borders, and that's created economic strife.

  • Certainly, sanctions still exist, so Kim, Jong-un, at various meetings, has been urging his citizens to sacrifice more, to tighten their belts.

  • Kim, Jong-un has mentioned, uh, potential food shortages.

  • So the fact that Kim, Jong-un himself looks, by his own standards, more gaunt, this as a propaganda point can be used to project to North Koreans that Kim, Jong-un is alongside with the shared sacrifice, that times are difficult for him, too.

  • There is no topic that's more off-limits inside North Korea than the leader's health.

  • Experts say the fact that state media, which is heavily curated and orchestrated, chose to run interviews articulating concern for Kim, Jong-un because of his weight loss shows that this is not a grave health concern but rather, perhaps a rallying call.

  • Experts say this is more of a message to bolster spirits and to really reinforce that Kim, Jong-un is a person for the people, a leader for the people, more so than an outward message.

  • But to the outside world, this is yet another reminder of where Kim, Jong-un's attention is at the moment.

This is North Korean state media footage of leader Kim, Jong-un from July last year.

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What North Korean Propaganda Tells Us About Kim Jong Un’s Weight Loss | WSJ

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    nao posted on 2021/08/25
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