SEOUL, South Korea—North Korean person Kim Jong Un has precocious mislaid astir 20 kilograms (44 pounds), but remains steadfast and is trying to boost nationalist loyalty to him successful the look of worsening economical problems, South Korea’s spy bureau told lawmakers Thursday.
The National Intelligence Service gave the appraisal during a closed-door parliamentary briefing, saying it utilized artificial quality techniques, an investigation of super-resolution video of Kim and different methods to analyse Kim’s condition, said 2 lawmakers who attended the session.
Kim’s wellness has been a absorption of keen extracurricular attraction successful caller months due to the fact that helium has appeared noticeably thinner successful authorities media photos and videos. Kim, 37, hasn’t publically anointed a successor and immoderate experts accidental an abrupt incapacitation could trigger chaos successful the impoverished nuclear-armed country.
Despite Kim’s thinner appearance, longtime North Korea observers person said Kim has nary evident wellness problems, and his value nonaccomplishment is apt the effect of his efforts to amended his physique. They noted that helium has continued his regular nationalist activities and nary antithetic developments person been seen successful North Korean videos.
But unconfirmed rumors astir him person continued to appear, with 1 tabloid claiming that caller nationalist appearances utilized an impostor. The NIS dismissed that study arsenic groundless, lawmaker Kim Byung-kee said.
He said the NIS told the parliamentary league that Kim’s value has fallen from astir 140 kilograms (308 pounds) to 120 kilograms (264 pounds). The NIS has antecedently said Kim is astir 170 centimeters (5 feet, 8 inches) tall.
It said Kim has been engaged successful nationalist activities for 70 days truthful acold this year, a 45 percent summation from the aforesaid play past year.
The lawmaker said the NIS recovered that Kim had photos of his precocious begetter and grandfather—who ruled North Korea earlier him—removed from a Workers’ Party league room.
Another lawmaker, Ha Tae-keung, quoted the NIS arsenic saying North Korea has begun utilizing the word “Kimjongunism,” a governmental ideology named aft Kim Jong Un that is autarkic of existing ideologies named aft his begetter and grandfather, “Kimjongilism” and “Kimilsungism.”
After astir 10 years successful office, Kim is struggling to flooded what appears to beryllium the toughest play of his regularisation owed to economical hardships worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the NIS, North Korea’s yearly commercialized with China, its main state and economical lifeline, declined by two-thirds to $185 cardinal done September this twelvemonth compared to the erstwhile year, Ha said.
North Korean officials are struggling to woody with soaring prices of goods and shortages of medicine and different indispensable supplies that person accelerated the dispersed of water-borne diseases specified arsenic typhoid fever. The state has besides been incapable to import the insubstantial and ink it uses to people banknotes, forcing North Korean officials to contented impermanent currency, according to Ha’s relationship of the NIS briefing.
While reduced commercialized has constricted the proviso of materials needed for concern activity, North Korean officials are pushing workers hard to summation production. Excessive mill operations caused an detonation astatine a large fertilizer works successful August, Ha quoted the NIS arsenic saying.
The NIS corroborated caller reports by the World Health Organization that North Korea is opening to easiness its pugnacious COVID-19 borderline restrictions to person extracurricular help.
The occidental North Korean seaport of Nampo is present “saturated” with supplies from the extracurricular satellite aft authorities precocious began allowing accrued maritime transport and the entranceway of aesculapian supplies, according to the NIS. North Korea is preparing to unfastened different seaport successful the northwest, Yongchon, to grip the accrued supplies and is besides considering restarting obstruction transport with China and Russia, it said.
North Korea has yet to study immoderate cases of COVID-19. While experts person questioned its assertion of a cleanable record, Ha said the NIS has yet to spot immoderate signs of a large COVID-19 outbreak.
Despite its terrible virus-related borderline controls, North Korea hasn’t shown the aforesaid benignant of urgency for vaccines, arsenic wide immunizations proceed to beryllium delayed amid planetary shortages.
Ha said North Korea has rejected extracurricular offers of Russian and Chinese vaccines. Kim, the lawmaker, said the NIS has determined North Korea besides hasn’t shown involvement successful obtaining Pfizer vaccines, which would necessitate negotiations with the drugmaker and the United States.
Analysts accidental North Korea could beryllium uneasy astir planetary monitoring requirements that would beryllium attached to vaccines it receives from the extracurricular world. There are besides views that Kim Jong Un has home governmental motivations to tighten the country’s self-imposed lockdown arsenic helium calls for unity and tries to solidify his grip connected power.
By Hyung-Jin Kim and Kim Tong-Hyung
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