SEOUL, South Korea – Heartbroken North Koreans have been worrying tearfully about leader Kim Jong Un’s “emaciated looks,” state media quoted a local resident as saying in a rare acknowledgement of foreign speculation about his weight loss.
The comments were seen as an effort to boost domestic support for Kim’s efforts as he grapples with deepening economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, mismanagement, U.N. economic sanctions and natural disasters, some experts said.
“Our people’s hearts ached most when we saw (Kim’s) emaciated looks,” North Korean state TV cited an unidentified male resident wearing a straw hat as saying on Friday. “Everyone says their tears are welling up in their eyes naturally.”
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