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World Kim Jong Un's health problems unlikely, analysts say

17:20  19 june  2021
17:20  19 june  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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Images of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appearing thinner led some online speculators to believe his health could be in jeopardy, though a South Korean analyst recently downplayed such theories.

Kim Jong-un wearing glasses and looking at the camera © Provided by Washington Examiner

Intelligence agencies have been closely following signs of health-related complications surrounding the North Korean leader largely due to the implications and possible regime change that would occur should Kim fall too ill to remain leader of the country.

However, Kim's weight loss is more likely a sign that his health is improving than a signal of a serious illness, according to Hong Min, a senior analyst at Seoul's Korea Institute for National Unification.

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"If he was experiencing health problems, he wouldn't have come out in public to convene the plenary meeting of the Workers' Party's Central Committee," which is a major political conference slated for this week, Hong said.

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Kim, who is believed to be in his mid-30s, is known for being a heavy drinker and smoker, with a family history of heart disease and related illnesses. His father and grandfather both died of heart-related issues, and some experts have said the present North Korean leader's weight could increase his chances of cardiovascular complications.

"It may be a simple matter of a healthy lifestyle change or a more complex issue," said Mike Brodka, an intelligence officer for U.S. Special Operations Command in South Korea.

"Right now, we do not know, but it raises enough serious questions that we must pay attention to events over the next couple of months to find out," Brodka added.

Due to the global pandemic cutting access to supply chains from China necessary for stability, Kim recently spoke about a "tense" food shortage the country is experiencing, which could be a contributing factor to his apparent weight loss.

Global speculation over Kim's health also garnered attention last year after he missed the commemoration of the birthday of his late grandfather, among other extended periods of time when the leader went missing from the public eye.

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Some have questioned whether his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, was next in line to inherit the leadership position of her brother, while others speculated whether the regime would transition to a collective leadership among the brother and sister.

Tags: News, North Korea, Kim Jong Un, South Korea, Health, Korea, Asia

Original Author: Kaelan Deese

Original Location: Kim Jong Un's health problems unlikely, analysts say

Kim Jong Un's sister says US faces 'greater disappointment' if it wants to resume talks with North Korea .
Kim Yo Jong dismissed restarting talks with the US, saying it was taking her brother's comments "the wrong way."Kim Yo Jong, a powerful member of the North Korean ruling party, said in a statement on Tuesday that the US expectation of reigniting dialogue with Pyongyang "would plunge them into greater disappointment," reported Reuters.

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