New Photos of North Korea's Kim Jong-un raise fears for his health



Kim Jong-un appears to be losing his personal battle of the bulge, with new photos released by state media showing the North Korean dictator straining the seams of a pinstripe suit as he offers "field guidance" on a state farm.
Images released on Monday by the Korea Central News Agency show the portly Mr Kim wearing a panama hat and standing with his jacket undone amid crops at Farm No. 1116 outside Pyongyang. He was also photographed striding down a track at the farm, accompanied by military officials, and commenting on crops displayed in the research centre.
Mr Kim, who is believed to be 32 years old, has put on a significant amount of weight since he inherited North Korea after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in December 2011.
There have also been bouts of ill-health during his rule. Mr Kim disappeared from public view for several weeks from early September last year, while he was walking with a cane and a pronounced limp when he attended a special session of the North Korean parliament in July.
As well as the country, Mr Kim appears to also have inherited his father's health problems linked to his diet. Kim Jong-il's sudden death was put down to high blood pressure and diabetes linked to his appreciation of expensive French brandy and fine cuisine.
On Monday, the United Nations warned that a drought in North Korea could lead to severe food shortages later this year. The lowest rainfall in three decades will have an impact on crops, with soldiers working on collective farms already forced to plant rice seedlings in paddy fields with no water.
Seventy percent of the 24.6 million people in North Korean are already classified as "food insecure", according to the UN.
The health of Mr Kim needs to be carefully monitored, according to analysts, as if he is perceived to be physically ailing then a faction with designs on the regime might consider the time ripe for an uprising.
"We know that his health is not so good and, in the future, if he is taken seriously ill then there is the possibility of instability or even a coup by elements of the military", Toshimitsu Shigemura, a professor at Tokyo's Waseda University and an authority on North Korean affairs, told The Telegraph.
"And because the Kim family bloodline is so important in North Korean society, they may very well look to Kim's older brother, Kim Jong-nam, to be a figurehead for the new regime".




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