North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is suffering from multiple health problems due to his hard living habits, according to South Korea’s intelligence agency.
The National Intelligence Service (NIS) told a parliamentary committee that Mr Kim likely suffers from insomnia and other “serious sleeping disorders” as well as alcohol and nicotine dependency.
The NIS also said that Mr Kim has not appeared in public for 20 days and that his health condition is closely monitored by the spy agency.
Mr Kim’s body weight is estimated at 140 kilograms (308 pounds) using artificial intelligence analysis, and he has visible dark circles under his eyes, the NIS said.
The agency added that Mr Kim is “importing large quantities of foreign cigarettes, such as Marlboro and Dunhill, and high-end liquor” and that his insomnia may be worsening as he increases his dependence on these substances.
Mr Kim’s health problems may affect his decision-making and stability, as well as the political situation in North Korea, some experts say.
“Kim has suffered from a lot of stress stemmed from making decisions about so many problems and taking responsibilities alone in the process of ruling his country for nine years,” GlobalSecurity.org, a website that provides information on security issues, said.
“His health doesn’t look good for his age. That has to do with his excessive drinking and smoking, along with stress.”
The NIS briefing came amid speculation about Mr Kim’s whereabouts and health after he skipped a major event on 15 April to mark the birthday of his grandfather and the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung.
He also presided over a spy satellite launch on 16 May that ended in failure, according to North Korea’s state media.
A pack of cigarettes and an ashtray were seen on his desk during the event, which was broadcast by the state-controlled Korean Central Television.
“The stress of being North Korea’s strongman, coupled with excessive boozing, led to health issues for Kim Jong-un,” Joshua Rhett Miller, a reporter for New York Post, wrote.
Mr Kim, known for heavy drinking and smoking, comes from a family with a history of heart problems.
His father, Kim Jong-il, died of a heart attack in 2011 at the age of 69. His grandfather, Kim Il-sung, also died of a heart attack in 1994 at the age of 82.
– Kim Jong-un having trouble sleeping, drinking heavily: lawmaker, The Korea Herald, May 31, 2023
– Spy agency says hard living is taking a toll on North Korean leader’s health, Korea JoongAng Daily, May 31, 2023
– Kim Jong Un health issues reportedly caused by stress, drinking, New York Post, May 1, 2020
– Kim Jong Un ‘is suffering from insomnia, weighs well over 300lb and is becoming more dependent on cigarettes and alcohol’, Daily Mail, April 30, 2020