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New photos of Kim Jong Un set off more speculation about his health

Are these both photos of the real Kim Jong Un? And if so, what’s been happening to him?

The photo on the left was released in North Korea on Tuesday (Dec 28), and shows the president addressing a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the country’s ruling Workers' Party.

The photo on the right was taken 3½ years ago in Singapore.

The difference is stark. The man has lost a lot of weight.

Inevitably, this has led to more speculation about his health, with conspiracy theories swirling around online.

Mr Kim’s earlier photos this year have also shown him looking much slimmer than before, and the authorities in Pyongyang have been quoted as saying that the president is eating less “for the sake of the country”.

North Korea is reportedly facing severe food shortages.

But some are not convinced and wonder if it is even the same man.

There can’t be any doubt about the photo of him in Singapore.

Mr Kim, who was here for his historic summit with then US President Donald Trump in June 2018, met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana, where veteran photojournalist Jonathan Choo, formerly of The New Paper, clicked it.

And this week’s pic? 

The Daily Express reported in Britain that people were poring over facial differences from earlier photos of Mr Kim, with many arguing that the 37-year-old leader must be incapacitated and this must be a lookalike.

But South Korean intelligence is not buying that.

The country’s spy agency believes that Mr Kim has shed about 20kg, and has dismissed any suggestion that the latest photos showed a body double, said a Bloomberg report carried by The Straits Times.

North KoreaKim Jong Un