North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s health has not improved, and his dietary habits may be to blame, according to a South Korean press report. File Photo by Rodong Sinmun
SEOUL, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un's fondness for Swiss cheese and French wine could be driving his weight gain since he fully assumed power in 2012 – and his siblings also struggle with alcohol-related issues and are quick to punish subordinates.
An account from the Kim family's former sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto, released in 2016 after the Japanese national visited with the North Korean leader in April, claims Kim hasn't stopped enjoying fine cuisine, South Korean television network KBS reported Friday.
According to Fujimoto, who has known the Kims since 1982, the North Korean leader drank an expensive Bordeaux wine during dinner. Kim also boasted that he had drunk "10 bottles of Bordeaux" a few days prior to the meal, where he appeared with six attractive North Korean women, Fujimoto had said.
A connoisseur of good food, Kim enjoys consuming Emmental, a medium-hard Swiss cheese that he became familiar with during his boarding school days in Switzerland, according to KBS.
In 2014, Kim reportedly dispatched officials to learn the cheese-making techniques at a French culinary school, after becoming angry with North Korean chefs for their inability to reproduce the same flavors he had tasted in Switzerland.
South Korea's National Intelligence Service stated at a recent parliamentary briefing on Wednesday that Kim's health has not improved since July, when the spy agency noted Kim weighed about 290 pounds, up from an estimated 200 pounds in 2012.
The NIS also said in a recent assessment that Kim's older brother Kim Jong Chul engages in violent behavior when drunk.
Kim Jong Chul, who was seen at an Eric Clapton concert in 2015, destroyed bottles in his hotel room after excessive drinking, the spy agency said.
Kim Jong Chul would have succeeded his father, Kim Jong Il, but the former North Korean leader had criticized his oldest son for being "like a girl," according to Fujimoto.
Kim Yo Jong, the youngest among the siblings, has been out of the spotlight since June.
In charge of North Korea propaganda, she was responsible for inviting foreign journalists to the Seventh Party Congress, an event that did not produce cooperative journalism, according to KBS.
The youngest Kim is known for quickly punishing subordinates for even the slightest mistakes, according to the report.
Fujimoto has said Kim's sister is not married.