Kim Jong-un health: What is the North Korean leaders latest health status?

Kim Jong-un wears leather jacket at ceremony in 2019

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Talk of Kim Jong-un’s health has surfaced on several occasions in recent years – often prompted when he disappears from the public attention for a period of time. Tomorrow marks the tenth anniversary of his Father, Kim Jong-il’s death, a day which is likely to be commemorated in North Korea. In anticipation of this event, takes a closer look at the health of Kim Jong-un and what’s caused him to disappear on occasion.

Kim Jong-il was the second supreme leader of North Korea and officially began his rule on October 8, 1997.

His reign lasted up until his death on December 17, 2011, whereby he was succeeded by his son, Kim Jon-un, shortly afterwards.

As tomorrow marks the tenth anniversary of Kim Jong-il’s death, North Korea is expected to commemorate the date with a large-scale event – as is usually the case in the country.

Mass public gatherings were held on all the first, second, third and fifth anniversaries of Kim Jong-il’s death.

Should a commemorative event take place Kim Jong-un will be expected to make a public appearance.

However, recently the North Korean leader disappeared from the glare of the public eye for his longest ever spell.

Between September and November of this year, Mr Kim was absent for more than a month, which sparked rumours as to what the state of his health was.

Eventually, he did re-emerge though state officials did not provide an explanation for his disappearance.

Seen out at a parade to celebrate North Korea’s 73rd anniversary in early September, Mr Kim seemed to have lost a significant amount of weight.

There was no reason given by North Korean authorities as to Mr Kim’s weight loss – which was estimated to be around 20kg (3.1 stone).

Some said Mr Kim was showing solidarity with North Koreans following a food shortage, while others speculated he had slimmed down for his health.

In another public appearance in November, he visited the construction of a new city – labelled a “socialist utopia” by state officials.

The city in question is being constructed near North Korea’s border with China, and once complete will lie beneath the shadow of Mount Paektu – a holy mountain where Mr Kim’s family claims their roots.

Samjiyon, a northern alpine town, is currently being transformed into a huge economic hub that will include new apartments, hotels, a ski resort and commercial, cultural and medical facilities.

The city is one of Pyongyang’s largest initiatives that were launched as part of Mr Kim’s plans for a self-reliant economy.

Has Kim Jong-un disappeared before?

In the past, Mr Kim’s disappearances from state media have often triggered rumours about his health and whereabouts.

He vanished from public eyes for several weeks in April 2020.

His absence led to speculation that he was recovering from heart surgery, had contracted Covid or may even have died.

Nonetheless, the North Korean leader eventually resurfaced in state media reports which put an end to rumours of ill health.

Kim Jong-un’s reign to date

To date, Mr Kim’s time in power has been characterised by his acceleration of North Korea’s nuclear weapons technologies.

His reign has often been a brutal one. In 2013, he notably executed his uncle for treason to the North Korean state.

Mr Kim has also been accused of inciting food insecurities and widespread starvation of his own people during his handling of the Covid pandemic.

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