Seoul's 007s: Kim Jong-un has lost 20 kg but is healthy

South Korean spies denied that Pyongyang's leader may have used look-alikes. Sister's attendance at public events increases. Intelligence chief: "Possible that the North will agree to negotiate peace treaty without preconditions."



Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has lost 20 kg, but does not seem to have health problems, according to Seoul's intelligence service during a closed-door parliamentary session. The National Intelligence Service (NIS) denied rumors that Pyongyang was using a stand-in for its strongman's recent public appearances.

Kim Byung-kee, a Democratic Party parliamentarian, explained that the NIS conducted a detailed study of Kim Jong-un's health using artificial intelligence. The North Korean leader's health has long been the subject of speculation because of the political implications that his sudden demise could have. He has apparently not yet named a successor. 

The Nis then revealed that Kim Jong-un and his sister Kim Yo-jong have attended 71 and 34 public events, respectively, this year. For the leader, that's 45 percent more than last year; for Kim Yo-jong, who now also oversees relations with the United States and South Korea, it's double that in 2020. 

According to the head of the NIS, Park Jie-won, it is possible that Pyongyang will agree to discuss with Seoul the signing of a peace treaty without preconditions, but he clarified that this is a personal opinion. In recent months, South Korean President Moon Jae-in had proposed the signing of a treaty to formally end the 1950-53 war, but the communist regime had demanded as a precondition for the talks that economic sanctions be lifted and joint military exercises with the United States cease. 

Finally, intelligence confirmed the restarting of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor and the decline in trade with China, which fell to 5 million (158.5 million euros) in the first nine months of this year. The figure corresponds to a third of the previous year's values.