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An expert has shared their shock at Kim Jong-un's incredible weight loss following an appearance during a huge military parade this week.
Thousands of people looked on as paramilitary and public security forces from the Worker-Peasant Red Guards marched through Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung square.
During the event to mark the country's 73rd anniversary, a much thinner Jong-un was seen hugging children and waving to the crowds below.
Speaking about the event and the North Korean leader's new look, Martyn Williams from the think tank the 38 North Project, said: "It's striking how much healthier Kim Jong-un is looking in these photos from yesterday.
"However he is doing it - and there are theories - he looks a lot better than he did a few months ago."
According to local media, planes flew above the capital firing flares during the procession while paratroopers dropped from aircraft.
Military troops wearing orange hazmat suits were also seen marching during the parade.
This comes after reports circulated that North Korean officials had warned citizens to refrain from publicly discussing national leader Jong-un's health after he appeared to have lost weight in recent months.
Sources claimed that such gossip was viewed as a 'reactionary act'.
Photographs of the slimmed-down leader hit the headlines following his first appearance in state media after a prolonged absence back in June.
The images led to speculation following rumours that he had in fact died as a result of botched heart surgery in August last year.
As a result, government officials insisted that not only was Jong-un in perfectly good health but that he had also lost weight as a result of worrying about his people and their ongoing food shortages, which has been blamed on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Spreading rumours about the Dignity's health is regarded as treason by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), an unnamed insider has disclosed to the US-backed news outlet Radio Free Asia.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "As stories of health problems related to the Highest Dignity's weight loss spread among the residents, many of the neighbourhood watch units here in Chongjin made official statements to the people at their weekly meeting, saying that it is a 'reactionary act' to talk about the leader's health.
"The neighbourhood watch units also said the sudden weight loss is not due to a health problem, but rather that he is suffering in solitude for the sake of the country and people in crisis."
Another source, residing in the city of Sariwon, south of the capital Pyongyang, also claimed that neighbourhood watch units there have warned people not to gossip about Jong-un's health.
The second source, who requested anonymity for security purposes, said: "Although Sariwon did not convene an emergency meeting of residents to reassure them that the Highest Dignity is healthy, it did caution people in neighbourhood watch meetings not to mention his health.
"They emphasised that it is prohibited to share any stories about the health of the leader, who they said had become emaciated due to the piling up of national affairs.
"But public suspicion that he has health problems has not subsided."
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