The emperor needs new clothes.
A slimmed-down Kim Jong Un was pictured in a baggy gray pinstripe suit when he greeted commanders and political officers of the Korean People’s Army in Pyongyang on Friday, according to The Sun.
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service has estimated that North Korea’s formerly corpulent dictator has lost up to 44 pounds.
Recent images of the famously reclusive and rotund leader — who previously weighed 308 pounds — appeared to show that the 37-year-old has lost a large chunk of weight, sparking renewed speculation about his health.
A Pyongyang resident made headlines recently when he told state media that North Koreans were heartbroken by Kim’s “emaciated looks.”
According to one source, the diminutive despot’s cronies said he gained weight due to stress, drinking, heavy smoking and a high-fat diet, The Sun reported.
The 38 North website, which analyzes the Hermit Kingdom, reported that Kim may have been taking weight loss medication or had a bariatric surgery procedure such as a gastric sleeve or a gastric bypass, according to the report.
Others have suggested that the COVID-19 pandemic might have prompted him to take drastic health action since his morbid obesity and likely cardiovascular disease are high-risk factors.
Meanwhile, Kim’s powerful sister — and possible successor — Kim Yo Jong warned Sunday that next month’s annual military drills between South Korean and American troops will undermine prospects for better ties between the Koreas, CNBC reported.
“For some days I have been hearing an unpleasant story that joint military exercises between the South Korean army and the US forces could go ahead as scheduled,” she said just days after Pyongyang and Seoul reopened their long-dormant communication channels.
“I view this as an undesirable prelude which seriously undermines the will of the top leaders of the North and the South wishing to see a step taken toward restoring mutual trust and which further beclouds the way ahead of the North-South relations,” Kim Yo Jong said.
“Our government and army will closely follow whether the South Korean side stages hostile war exercises in August or makes other bold decision,” she added.
Drills between the US and South Korea Seoul have been a long-running source of animosities on the Korean Peninsula — with Pyongyang calling them an invasion rehearsal and responding with missile tests.
Washington and Seoul have repeatedly said their drills are purely defensive.