The tyrant has been less often seen in recent years due to fears about his weight, but he was on full display when paramilitary forces marched through Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square
Kim Jong Un has been photographed attending a bizarre military parade that featured rows of people dressed in orange hazmat suits.
On Wednesday, the North Korean leader made an unusual public appearance as the country celebrated its 72nd year anniversary.
Fears over his weight have led to the 37-year old tyrant being seen less often in recent months. Residents were apparently forbidden from speaking about his newly slim figure.
According to the official KCNA news agency, he was on full display while paramilitary or public security forces of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards marched into Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung square.
Rodong Sinmun is the newspaper of the ruling Worker’s Party. It published photos of people wearing orange hazmat suits and medical-grade masks as a symbol of anti-coronavirus efforts.
There were also a variety of conventional weapons on display, including multiple rocket launchers and tractors that carried anti-tank missiles.
The reports did not mention any ballistic missiles and Kim didn’t give any speeches, unlike October last year when he boasted the country’s nuclear capabilities and showed off previously unseen intercontinental bombastic missiles in a military parade.
North Korea has not confirmed any COVID-19 case, but it has closed borders and implemented strict prevention measures. They see the pandemics as a matter of national survival.
This was the first North Korean parade since 2013, featuring the 5.7 million strong Worker-Peasant Guards. These were launched as reserves forces following the withdrawal of Chinese forces that fought for North Korea in the 1950-53 Korean War.
Yang Moo-jin is a professor at the University of North Korean Studies Seoul. He said that the perception of lack of strategic weapons and the emphasis on public security forces indicated that Kim is focusing on domestic issues like COVID-19, and the economy.
“The parade seems to be strictly designed as a domestic festival aimed at promoting national unity and solidarity of the regime,” Yang said.
“There were no nuclear weapons and Kim didn’t give a message while being there, which could be meant to keep the event low-key and leave room for maneuver for future talks with the United States and South Korea.”
Since 2019, talks to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and missile arsenals have been deadlocked.
Although the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden stated it would explore diplomacy to attain North Korean denuclearisation but has refused to accommodate North Korean demands to relax sanctions,
There were hopes that the denuclearisation negotiations could be restarted after July’s reactivation inter-Korean hotlines.
However, North Korea did not respond to calls after South Korea and the United States held annual military drills last month. Pyongyang had warned of a security crisis.
Kim was last seen wearing a loose-fitting jacket and excessive skin sagging around the neck at Pyongyang’s Youth Day celebrations earlier in the month.
Rumors of the dictator’s health led to officials banning gossip about his weight.
Kim was a chain-smoking, cheese-gorging Kim and had gained a stone each year since her rise to power in 2011.
However, it is believed that he lost 44 pounds in one year — more than three stone in weight.
Reports claim he attended a secret health retreat after his weight became a concern.
Other suggestions suggested that he had a gastric tube fitted and that his health problems left some in the country. “heartbroken”.
According to South Korea’s national intelligence, he weighed 22 stone last year. This would make him morbidly obese.