Kim Jong Un, the reclusive dictator of North Korea, appeared “chubbier” than usual in photos, and another report said he was forced to sit down during a factory visit.
Kim made an appearance at a North Korean food factory to show that he’s not injured anymore.
The photos “showed his coat straining across his bloated stomach,” said the Daily Mail. It noted there were rumors that he got his stomach stapled or had a gastric band fitted around his stomach to reduce his food intake.
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) November 17, 2014
In the photos, Kim was not able to button up his lab coat over his black suit. The photos show him with an entourage of “yes-men” as he gives them orders.
A few months ago, it was speculated that Kim spent several weeks in a Beijing hospital to get a gastric band. There were also rumors that he was addicted to eating Emmental cheese that was imported from Switzerland.
Meanwhile, the Mirror posted a photo of Kim sitting down at the same factory, saying he “needed a sit down before he inspected the production line.”
The expressions on the faces of those around Kim Jong-un are often the most compelling thing about images of him. pic.twitter.com/taeDaVPtaT
— Barry Malone (@malonebarry) November 15, 2014
It’s very unusual for the state-published photos to show Kim sitting down. He’s usually up and walking around, instructing others.
His visit comes as food shortages continue to plague North Korea, which has been the site of some of worst famines in modern history.
The UN’s World Food Program said that it was able to get funds to stay in North Korea until March but it noted there’s uncertainty after that.
“We are no longer in danger of closing our operations in DPRK at the end of this year,” Silke Buhr of the WFP said, via The Associated Press. “We have received enough donations or promises of donations to enable us to reach the full caseload of 1.1 million women and children per month until the end of March 2015.”
Buhr said that in North Korea, “Almost 1 in 3 young children are stunted, and the health status of children is highly fragile.”
She added: “One small shock to the food system can lead to a spike in acute malnutrition; this is why WFP’s programs target young children and their mothers with nutrient-dense foods.”