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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly shed three stone, according to South Korean spies.
The dictator has appeared noticeably slimmer in recent weeks, sparking concerns over his health.
South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) has now told the intelligence committee of the country's parliament about the tyrant's weight loss behind closed doors, NK News reported.
MP Kim Byeong-kee, a member of the committee, said the NIS also reported "Kim Jong Un recently lost around 10 to 20 kilograms of weight, and is conducting normal governance activities".
His statement confirmed that the South Korean intelligence services are paying close attention to the tyrant's health.
Recent photographs of the 37-year-old dictator have been circulating, showing him looking clearly slimmer compared to earlier images in the year.
Kim is known to be a heavy smoker and has spent a lot of his life obese with his weight increasing steadily for a number of years.
South Korea's intelligence unit claimed he reached 22 stone in 2020 after gaining around a stone per year since coming to power in 2011.
The leader has a notorious appetite, allegedly often consuming a lot of cheese, caviar, and lobster alongside multiple bottles of wine just in one night.
Images published by Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency and on state television in June 2021 showed him looking less overweight than before.
It is not known how he lost the weight, but analysts have said that North Korea's capital Pyongyang is using Kim's appearance to glorify his leadership and show him as "devoted and hardworking" as the country battles a food crisis.
Defector-turned-researcher Ahn Chan-il told AFP: "The message Pyongyang is sending is that Kim is a leader who works very hard for his people even to a degree he skips meals and loses weight."
Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, pointed out it was unlikely that his recent weight loss was a symptom of ill health, as he had attended several public events.
He said: "No one can really know why lost weight."
Earlier in the month, it was reported that Kim had purged many officials after their "disastrous failings" over the country's famine.
- Kim Jong Un
- Weight Loss
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