Experts said that the comments were meant to increase domestic support for Kim's efforts in dealing with economic hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and mismanagement.
"Our people's hearts ached the most when (Kim) looked emaciated," North Korean state TV reported on Friday. The unidentified male resident was wearing a straw cap. "Everyone claims their tears are naturally welling up in the eyes."
Kim appears to have lost significant weight in recent photos taken by state media. North Korea watchers claim Kim, who stands at approximately 170 cm (5 feet 8 inches) and weighed previously 140 kilograms (308 lb), may have lost between 10-20 kilograms (22-24 lb).
Analysts in Seoul believe Kim went on a diet to improve health. Others speculate that Kim's weight loss could be due to health problems.
Kim is known for his heavy drinking and smoking habits. He comes from a family that has had heart problems in the past. Both his grandfather and father, who ruled North Korea, died from heart problems.
Kim has been calling for greater unity to end what he describes as "the worst-ever" crises. These include the pandemic-related closures of border crossings, U.S.-led sanctions, and severe crop-killing storms last summer.Updated Date: 28 June 2021, 16:51