North Korea: Malnourishment crisis increases for population
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The Supreme Leader has prompted speculation in the country after appearing visibly slimmer in recent interviews. Speaking to Korean Central Television in June, one member of the public voiced their concerns over Mr Kim’s health.
But now, Rüdiger Frank, professor for East Asian economics and society at the Institute for East Asian Studies at the University of Vienna said his weight loss is a “political calculation”.
Speaking on the ntv podcast, Mr Frank said: “The fact that the Führer has lost weight has actually been explicitly discussed even in the North Korean state media.
“There was an interview with a concerned citizen who said the topic was ‘talk of the town’.
“We can therefore take it for granted.”
The expert added how the dictator’s weight loss is a political calculation.
He added: “It may well be that Kim Jong Un wants to make it clear to his own people that not only the people suffer, but he does too.
“That would be the propaganda message, so to speak.
“We do not know exactly how difficult the situation is.
“It is a combination of the long-term structural crisis, the medium-term sanctions as well as the short-term Corona crisis and the associated complete self-isolation, also from China.”
However, others have speculated the Supreme leader’s weight loss is a sign that his general health is deteriorating.
But Professor King added: “These are pure speculations.
“But if he had health problems, the stability of the country would be endangered.
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“And in regards to a de facto nuclear power that would be something that can be seen as a problem.”
His dramatic weight loss came amid warnings North Korea could run out of food within two months, sparking fears of a fatal famine.
Last month, fears over Kim’s health were raised after the dictator was not seen in public since May 6 and missed several key important dates in the North Korean calendar.
This was not the first Kim disappeared throughout the coronavirus pandemic last year, sparking fears over his health.
Back in February last year, the Supreme leader vanished for nearly three weeks.
A few months later, he disappeared for 12 days and rumours he had died or was seriously ill following a botched heart operation began to surface.
However, a month later in May, the secretive state released footage showing Kim visiting a newly-opened fertiliser plant, which appeared to quash the health rumours.
But the video didn’t quell all critics, with people speculating that a “body double” of the Supreme leader was used.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg
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