Kim Jong Un Looking Even Thinner As North Korea Leader Spotted at Parade

A noticeably thinner Kim Jong Un was spotted waving from the stands of a military parade in the North Korean capital Pyongyang on Thursday.

Th leader's low-key attendance at the event, a celebration of the 73rd anniversary of the nation's founding, comes amid growing public concern over his health.

The military parade—the first since President Joe Biden took office—was held in the middle of the night, according to state media reports.

Kim, wearing a gray suit, was spotted watching the festivities at Kim Il Sung Square next to his top official, Jo Yong Won, in photos taken by North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper.

BREAKING: Rodong Sinmun photos of last night's parade show Kim Jong Un in a suit with his top official Jo Yong Won standing next to him in some photos. Fireworks were held, as NK News initially reported per informed sources: https://t.co/1lUz8O4VGV pic.twitter.com/evz8DsdY1l

— NK NEWS (@nknewsorg) September 9, 2021

The parade is believed to have kicked off around midnight with an elaborate display of fireworks and military might. A column of fighter jets flew in formation above the square and parachutists landed with national flags, reported the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Kim waved to the cheering crowd, which responded with thunderous applause, calls of "Hurrah!" and chants of "Kim Jong Un," the agency added.

Photos showed North Korean troops marching in orange hazmat suits while thousands of unmasked spectators lined the streets.

Ri Il Hwan, a member of the ruling Workers' Party's Politburo, delivered a speech, saying the government would continue to strengthen defense capabilities and "firmly defend the dignity and fundamental interests of our people and solve everything our own way with our own efforts on the principle of self-reliance," according to the KCNA. It is unclear whether Kim also gave a speech.

A range of military hardware was displayed during the parade but the weapons did not appear to include any new missiles.

I have never seen Kim Jong Un in such a healthier body shape before. https://t.co/uRkyffLzrT

— Ryan Chan 陳家翹 (@ryankakiuchan) September 9, 2021

BREAKING: Rodong Sinmun photos of last night's parade show marches by North Koreans in allegedly domestically produced hazmat suits pic.twitter.com/6QAmwtd7zL

— NK NEWS (@nknewsorg) September 9, 2021

Kim's decreasing waistline was also subject to public scrutiny after photos of the 37-year-old's appearance at the event were published online.

"It's striking how much healthier Kim Jong Un is looking in these photos from yesterday," tweeted journalist and researcher Martyn Williams. "However he is doing it—and there are theories—he looks a lot better than he did a few months ago."

"I have never seen Kim Jong Un in such a healthier body shape before," replied Ryan Chan, a correspondent for Hong Kong's Oriental Daily News.

Kim, known for his love of fine food and heavy drinking, appears to have lost a considerable amount of weight over a short period of time.

Speculation about his health intensified in 2020, when he failed to appear at the April 15 celebrations of the North Korean state's founder, his grandfather Kim Il Sung.

He reappeared in early May 2020 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, when he attended the opening of a fertilizer factory just north of Pyongyang. There had been speculation that Kim had been seriously ill following heart surgery.

Kim's father and grandfather both died of heart problems and many experts have said the leader's weight could increase the possibility of cardiovascular disease.

Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the rehabilitation site in the Komdok area of South Hamgyong province, which was damaged by a typhoon, in October 2020. KCNA VIA KNS/AFP/Getty Images
 Kim Jong Un
A television screen shows news footage of a more rotund Kim Jong Un in January this year, attending the 8th congress of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang. Jung Yeon-je/Getty Images