Kim Jong Un overworked himself for his people so much last year that he “completely withered away,” claims a new state TV documentary about the diminutive despot — whose health has been a source of much speculation.
The propaganda video, titled “2021, A Great Victorious Year,” shows Kim struggling to walk down some stairs as he clutches an umbrella while his aides scurry around him, according to NK News, a US outlet that covers the Hermit Kingdom.
“[Kim] showed us his fatherly side by doggedly braving snow, rain and wind while taking on the fate of the nation and people like his own children,” the narrator says, as the camera captures the makeshift stairs on a rainy construction site the leader visited in August.
“His body completely withered away, and he showed his motherly side by greatly suffering and worrying to realize the dreams of the people,” the narrator on state-owned Korean Central TV adds.
In boosting Kim’s cult of personality, the spin show also shows him riding horses and conducting some previously unseen activities as it emphasizes that Pyongyang faced its “worst-ever hardships” and “challenges” in 2021 amid the pandemic.
Notably, the fawning video did not address the strongman’s shrinking waistline. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service has estimated that the formerly corpulent dictator lost up to 44 pounds.
Last year, images of the famously reclusive and rotund leader — who previously weighed 308 pounds — appeared to show that the 37-year-old had lost a large chunk of weight, sparking renewed speculation about his health and frequent disappearances from public view.
In June 2021, state media more directly acknowledged Kim’s weight loss when KCTV aired a citizen’s comments about how “emaciated” he looked.
One of the first scenes in the new documentary shows Kim contemplating his plans for North Korea while wearing summer duds and watching the sunrise from a horse on a beach.
Later, he appears riding horses with top military official Pak Jong Chon and other uniformed men, before the footage cuts to a scene of tanks lining up for firing drills, according to NK News.
The editing appeared to suggest Kim was present for the drills but did not actually show him there — and state media did not report on any such activities last year, the outlet said.
The documentary also addressed the national “food crisis,” which Kim was said to have discussed during a meeting in early June.
The narrator says Kim presented “important policy ideas in order to urgently stabilize the people’s lives and the tense food distribution situation and overcome the current food crisis with an emergency policy.”