North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong Un recently lost 20 kg, say South Korean spies


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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un lost up to 44 pounds but has no major health problems affecting his rule, according to a South Korean lawmaker informed by an espionage agency.

The National Intelligence Service estimates Kim recently lost between 10 and 20 kilograms (44 pounds), Kim Byung-kee, a lawmaker informed by the intelligence agency, told reporters Thursday.

“If there is an abnormality in his health, there should be signs that drugs are being imported into Kim’s health clinic, but it has not been detected,” the legislature said, adding that Kim Jong Un was still “hours – long meetings “and his walk is not unusual.

The 37-year-old North Korean leader was out of the public eye for much of the corn, and when he appeared in a video in June chairing a government meeting, he looked much leaner. State media later ran a story quoting a citizen who said North Koreans burst into tears at the sight of the thinner Kim, comments that may aim to build public support as he tries to revive a sickly economy.

Kim’s weight is being tracked by espionage authorities to gain insight into the autocratic and secretive regime in Pyongyang, especially as his family suffers from heart disease. South Korean spies told lawmakers in November that Kim weighed around 140 kilograms, but they did not provide an estimate in that briefing.

Another lawmaker, Ha Tae-keung, said the espionage agency announced that the Atomic Energy Research Institute had been hacked over a 12-day period, but no “most sensitive information” was leaked without elaborating. North Korea also tried to hack, the National Fusion Research Institute said around June 7th.

The two organizations play a leading role in South Korean nuclear research.

North Korea built its nuclear weapons capabilities under Kim so that it would be bigger and better able to hit South Korea, Japan and the US mainland. Sung Kim, the US special envoy for North Korea, said last month Washington would press ahead with United Nations sanctions to punish Pyongyang for testing nuclear devices and missiles that could carry warheads into the US

Total North Korea-China trade declined 81% year over year in the first five months of 2021, Ha said.

Restrictions along the border with China, struggles amid the pandemic, and international sanctions keep the North Korean economy barely growing this year after its worst decline in decades in 2020, Fitch Solutions said in April.

Kim warned last month that the “food situation is now getting tight”.

The North Korean leader later said the country was facing a “major crisis” because of a quarantine breach, although no details were disclosed at the time that trade with China could get a boost.

There is no evidence that Kim Jong Un had a coronavirus vaccine, Ha added.

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