North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared much slimmer in the latest photos released by the hermetic country's state media at the tail-end of 2021.
His leaner countenance has led to both jibes that he is emerging as the new "oppa", as well as fanned talk that his continued weight loss over several months is health related.
North Korean authorities have used his new look as part of the country's propaganda to insist the dear leader is healthy, just that he is eating less "for the sake of the country" that is grappling with severe food shortages.
Kim was photographed during a key ruling party meeting.
These meetings are where he usually makes important New Year policy announcements.
According to the official Korean Central News Agency, the Workers' Party's Central Committee met to decide policies meant to "guide the struggle of our party and people" to "the next stage of victory".
The meeting marks Kim's 10 years in power following the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in 2011.
Kim was previously absent from public for a few months, sparking concern he might have been too unwell to be seen by his country people.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated North Korea is short 860,000 tonnes of food this year alone.
This is equivalent to approximately 2.3 months of food use.
The pandemic and international sanctions have cratered the North Korean economy.
But observers do not expect a regime change or any credible challenges to Kim's power.
All media via North Korea
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