North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s noticeable weight loss has once again triggered speculations of a declining health. In a closed-door parliamentary briefing Thursday, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) claimed to have conducted an analysis of Kim’s condition saying the leader has lost about 20 kilograms over the past two years. 

According to ABC News, the spy agency used a number of scientific methods including artificial intelligence techniques that analyze video on a super-resolution mode as well as stereometry analysis that is capable of gauging facial fat and weight. 

Rep. Kim Byung-Kee of the ruling Democratic Party revealed to the media that the 37-year-old North Korean leader has often had reported health issues. However, these have not proven to be of any serious conditions fending off rumors of a Kim body double being used. 

Last year, China dispatched a team of medical experts to North Korea to offer advice to its leader amid claims he had been ill after a heart surgery. This triggered more growing conspiracy talk of Kim’s health after he disappeared from North Korean state media coverage for a significant period of time. 

Seemingly thinner in his recent public appearances and media photos, North Korean observers and analyzers said his weight loss could just be the result of the leader’s efforts to improve his health and physique.

The NIS assessed Kim, who is said to be 170 centimeters (5’8”) tall, lost a good amount of pounds from his previous weight of 140 kilograms (308 lbs) and he now seems to be tipping the scale at 120 kilograms (264 lbs).

While his health remains to be the focus of many, fears of the leader’s deteriorating health have so far been unsubstantiated as Kim has been more active in his public appearances this year compared to the previous year. The North Korea state media has covered the leader in public engagements totalling 70 days in 2021, whereas last year where he was only seen in public 49 times.

Byung Kee said Kim has been trying to work on building a people-friendly image in an effort to humanize the leader's hardline reputation. Photos of his father and grandfather have been noticeably removed from the main walls of his official meeting and at the same time, recently released photos of Kim showed the leader drinking beer and smoking amongst his appointed high-level officials.

kim jong un North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a welcoming dinner on Sept. 18, 2018 in Pyongyang, North Korea. Getty Images/Pyeongyang Press Corps/Pool