SEOUL • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has piled on around 40kg since he took power four years ago, bingeing on food and drink, South Korea's spy agency said yesterday.
The young leader is also suffering from insomnia and is paranoid about his personal safety, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) reported to a parliamentary committee behind closed doors.
When Mr Kim took over from his late father in 2012, his weight was believed to be 90kg. He bulked up to 120kg in 2014 and then 130kg this year, ruling Saenuri Party lawmaker Lee Cheol Woo told journalists after the NIS briefing for lawmakers.
"(According to NIS), he is suffering from insomnia," the lawmaker added. "He keeps a close tab on any potential threats to his power, including the military, and he is obsessed with ensuring his personal safety."
Mr Kim Kwang Jin, a research fellow at Seoul's Institute for National Security Strategy, told UPI news agency the North Korean leader could be experiencing high levels of stress, and there is evidence he has been increasing his intake of alcohol while smoking more cigarettes.
The South Korean analyst added Mr Kim could be suffering from high blood pressure and respiratory problems.
The North Korean leader is often seen with a cigarette in his hand as he inspects plants, construction sites and farms.
Mr Kim's father, Mr Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, Mr Kim Il Sung, were also obese and heavy smokers. Both died of heart attacks.
The NIS also confirmed Mr Kim's once-powerful aunt, Ms Kim Kyong Hui, is still alive despite her prolonged absence from public view following the execution of her husband, Mr Jang Song Taek.
"She fell into alcoholism after the execution of her husband but she is now under special care in Pyongyang's suburbs," Mr Lee said.
Mr Jang, once No. 2 in the North, was executed in late 2013 on an array of charges, including treason and corruption.
The couple were seen as instrumental in smoothing Mr Kim Jong Un's transition to power, before Mr Jang fell from grace.
The North Korean leader put himself in charge of a new governing agency created during a meeting of his country's rubber-stamp Parliament, the Supreme People's Assembly, on Wednesday.
The Assembly revised North Korea's Constitution to create what the state media called a Commission on State Affairs and named Mr Kim as its chairman. It replaced the National Defence Commission, the most powerful governing organ under Mr Kim's father, who ruled North Korea until his death in 2011.
Mr Kim's new title was the latest in a series of top leadership roles in the military, party and government that he has acquired as he tries to establish his one-man rule.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NEW YORK TIMES