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North Korea's Kim Jong Un Seen With Head Bandage Sparking Health Concerns

·3 min read

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un’s health is now up for debate. The North Korean dictator was recently seen with a dark spot as well as a bandage at the back of his head during several public events last month, according to NK News site. The reports also mention that Kim Jong Un appeared at events of the Korean People’s Army from July 24 to July 27 and was also seen in footage of a war veterans conference and related programmes from July 27 to July 29. During these events, Kim had a bruise at the back of his head. The images from these events show Kim Jong Un without the bandage about the size of a few postage stamps and in some a dark greenish spot or bruise on his head could be seen, reported NK News.

“The cause or nature of the large, dark green spot or bruise on the rear right side of his head, which was covered with a bandage in some footage, is still unknown and is difficult to diagnose using only images,” it said. NK News also said that the mark on Kim Jong Un’s head was not seen at a politburo meeting on June 29 or in photos from an appearance with musicians on July 11, where it did not show the back of his head, reported Hindustan Times.

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The health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has long been a source of morbid fascination in rival South Korea, which sits in the shadow of Kim’s 1.2-million-strong army and his growing arsenal of nuclear-armed missiles. Has he gained even more weight? Is he struggling for breath after relatively short walks? What about that cane? Why did he miss that important state anniversary? Now, the 37-year-old faces fresh speculation in the South about his health again. But this time, it’s because he’s noticeably slimmer.

Kim’s health matters in Seoul, Washington, Tokyo and other world capitals because he hasn’t publicly anointed a successor who would control an advancing nuclear program targeting the United States and its allies — if he is incapacitated. North Korea, never open about the internal workings of its leadership, has over the last year shut itself up even tighter to protect against the coronavirus pandemic.

In recent state media images Kim appeared to have lost a large amount of weight. The strap on his fancy watch is tighter, and his face thinner. Some observers say Kim — who is about 170 centimeters (5 feet, 8 inches) tall and has previously weighed 140 kilograms (308 pounds) — may have lost about 10-20 kilograms (22-44 pounds).

Kim’s apparent weight loss is more likely an attempt to improve his health, rather than a sign of illness, according to Hong Min, a senior analyst at Seoul’s Korea Institute for National Unification.

“If he was experiencing health problems, he wouldn’t have come out in public to convene the plenary meeting of the Workers’ Party’s Central Committee,” a major political conference this week that is expected to last two to three days, Hong said.

Kim, known for heavy drinking and smoking, comes from a family with a history of heart problems. His father and grandfather, who ruled North Korea before him, both died of heart issues. Experts have said his weight could increase the possibility of cardiovascular diseases.

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