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Kim Jong Un's soaring weight gain sign of health problems, analyst says

The North Korean leader could be experiencing high levels of stress and now weighs between 265 and 287 pounds.

By
Elizabeth Shim
Kim Jong Un could be stressed because of power struggles within his extended family and has gained 88 pounds in the last four years, a South Korean analyst said Thursday. File Photo by Yonhap
Kim Jong Un could be stressed because of power struggles within his extended family and has gained 88 pounds in the last four years, a South Korean analyst said Thursday. File Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un has gained 88 pounds in the last four years, an indication the North Korean leader could be suffering from worsening health problems.

Kim Kwang-jin, a research fellow at Seoul's Institute for National Security Strategy, told South Korean news network YTN Kim's state is "not normal," and that Kim weighed 198 pounds when he initially assumed power in late 2011. Now he's estimated to weigh between 265 and 287 pounds.

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The North Korean leader could be experiencing high levels of stress, and there is evidence he has been increasing his intake of alcohol while smoking more cigarettes, the South Korean analyst said, adding Kim could be suffering from high blood pressure and respiratory problems.

Kim Jong Un could be stressed because of power struggles within his extended family, Kim Kwang-jin said.

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In 2013, Kim had ordered the execution of his uncle Jang Song Thaek on charges of treason and corruption, and more recently had Jang's wife, Kim's biological aunt, removed from positions of power.

Kim Kwang-jin said ordinary North Koreans are cut off from information about the highly secretive Kim dynasty, and they are unaware of Kim Jong Un's health problems, or are indifferent.

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Indifference about the ruling Kims extends to North Korea's millennials, who spent their childhood witnessing the Great Famine of the '90s when nearly 2 million people died, South Korean outlet Daily NK reported Thursday.

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Several sources in various parts of North Korea said young North Koreans in their 20s and early 30s who benefited very little from the state distribution system defy authorities by secretly watching South Korean films and movies.

One source in North Hamgyong Province said millennials do not show much care for Kim Jong Un idolization.

Young North Koreans display outward acts of obedience for fear of punishment, but they do not worship Kim because he is "just a young leader who is around our age."

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