North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has lost up to 44 pounds but has no major health issues affecting his rule, according to a South Korean lawmaker briefed by a spy agency, reports Bloomberg.
The National Intelligence Service estimated that Kim recently lost between 10 and 20 kilograms (44 pounds), Kim Byung-kee, a lawmaker briefed by the spy agency told reporters on Thursday. "If there is an abnormality in his health, there should be signs that drugs are being imported to the clinic that's in charge of Kim's health, but that was not detected, adding that Kim Jong Un still hosts hours-long meetings and there's nothing unusual about how he walks," the lawmaker added.
Kim was out of public appearance for much of the month of May and when he reappeared in a June video showing him chairing a government meeting, he looked much slimmer. The state media later ran a story citing a citizen as saying North Koreans broke down in tears at the sight of the thinner Kim, comments that could have been aimed at building public support as he tries to revive a sickly economy.
Kim's weight is tracked by spy agencies for insights about the autocratic and secretive regime in Pyongyang especially since his family has a history of heart disease. South Korean spies told lawmakers in November last year that Kim weighed about 140 kilograms.
Another lawmaker Ha Tae-keung said that there is no evidence that Kim has had a coronavirus vaccine.
Kim warned last month that the "food situation is now getting tense." His country's perennial shortages were made worse by typhoons last year that wiped out crops and Kim's decision to shut borders due to Covid-19.