There is a food crisis in North Korea and ruler Kim Jong-un has lost weight. The government has now taken this as an opportunity to publish an unusual comment.
North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong-un has fallen significantly – and in a highly unusual step, the government has now published a citizen’s comment on the weight loss. Kim looked “emaciated”, the state broadcaster KCTV quoted an unnamed resident of the capital Pyongyang. This “breaks the heart of the people the most,” reported the citizen. Everyone talks about how he “immediately came to tears” when he saw Kim.
According to experts, the government wants to use Kim’s weight loss to strengthen the loyalty of the citizens to the ruler in times of a serious crisis in the food supply. The message sent from Pyongyang was that Kim worked “very hard” for people – even to the point that he “skipped meals and lost weight.”
Heavy sanctions and closed borders
The authoritarian ruled country is suffering severely from the international sanctions it is subject to because of its nuclear and missile program. In addition, North Korea has closed its borders of its own accord since the beginning of last year due to the corona pandemic. As a result, trade with neighboring China, which is essential for the country, has decreased significantly. This month, the leadership in Pyongyang acknowledged that there is a food crisis.
A public discussion about the health and private life of Kim Jong-un has so far been an absolute taboo in North Korea. The ruler was severely overweight for many years. He is also known to smoke a lot. Internationally, Kim’s health is closely monitored – not least because it is completely unclear who would succeed him in the event of his death and how stable the power apparatus in Pyongyang would then be.