Thin and energetic Kim stands out in the North Korean parade

Seoul, South Korea — In a rare North Korean parade that introduces military dogs and virus workers in orange hazmat suits, leader Kim Jong Un makes him look thinner and more energetic over the years. Still stood out by.

During an event that began late Wednesday, Kim in a cream suit and shiny white tie appeared when the watch hit midnight. In response to the big applause of performers and spectators filling the brightly lit Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, he was named after his grandfather and the founder of the country, the 73rd anniversary.

He laughed loudly, waved to the crowd, kissed the children who gave the flowers, and then watched the parade on the balcony. He laughed lively, applauded the marchers throughout the event, and chatted lively with senior officials.

TV footage shows him struggling to breathe while South Korean President Moon Jae-in accompanies a short hike to North Korea’s Mt. Baekdu during diplomatic relations 2018 It was a big change from the year. Moon, who is 30 years older than Kim, seems not to be absorbed in the walk at all.

“His face is clearly thin and he is moving much more actively,” said Park Wong-gon, a professor of North Korean studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul.

Weight loss has become noticeable after Kim made a public appearance in June for the first time in a few weeks to convene a ruling party meeting. Some North Korean watchers have said that Kim, who is about 5 feet tall, 8 inches tall and previously weighed 308 pounds, may have lost 22 to 44 pounds.

Most experts say that Kim’s weight loss is more likely to be the result of efforts to improve his body shape than an indicator of health problems, given his regular public activities. .. It may also have a political purpose.

Kim said that North Korea is probably the toughest moment in its approach to 10-year rule, including US-led economic sanctions on nuclear weapons, a pandemic border closure that puts more strain on the economic collapse, and the worsening food shortages caused by recent floods. Facing. summer.

Prime Minister Park said it was important for General Secretary Kim to build an image as a young and energetic leader who could get the country out of trouble. Such imaging efforts will be in line with the latest parade, which introduces civil defense forces involved in efforts to rebuild the flood-destroyed economy and communities and emphasizes the national message for unity.

Professor Yang Mojin of North Korea University in Seoul said that with weight loss and a cheerful attitude at the parade, Kim is likely trying to project the image of an “ordinary politician” with the general public. rice field.

“He’s also the husband and father of three children approaching his forties, so it’s no wonder he cares about his health,” said Yang.

Kim’s health is enthusiastic outside attention as the 37-year-old leader did not publicly anoint his Asian rivals and his successor to control North Korea’s advancing nuclear weapons targeting America’s hometown. Is the focus of. He is known for heavy drinking and smoking and is from a family with a history of heart disease. His grandfather and father, who ruled North Korea before him, both died of heart problems.

“Given North Korea’s political system, where the Supreme Leader decides everything, Kim’s health is a very important security issue,” said Park. “There may have been internal concerns that he was overweight, and it was important for Kim to reduce those concerns and present himself as a young and healthy leader who could do things. prize.”

Kim Dong-hyun

Associated Press

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