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Fresh pictures of North Korean despot Kim Jong-un have laid bare his staggering weight loss.
The stark contrast in the dictator's noticeably slimmer figure to the one he was sporting just months ago has even led to some conspiracy theorists to suggest he has been replaced by a lookalike.
The unsubstantiated claim was knocked back by users of the Reddit conspiracy forum.
One said: "He looks healthier and happy, he actually looks pretty good for a mass murderer."
Another added: "He lost that baby fat and is showing his grown man face?"
A third wrote: "Totally looks like the same dude. Just skinny."
Some Reddit users were not so sure, with some people suggesting Kim has gone under the knife for surgery.
Others reckon there has been a change in the distance between the dictator's eyes.
There has been intense speculation in recent months about Kim's dramatic weight loss. It has led to rumours that he was suffering undisclosed health problems.
Pictures showed the leader, 37, looking slimmer in the face.
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State media quoted an unidentified resident of North Korea's capital Pyongyang that his apparent weight loss left him "looking emaciated" while it is said to have broken the nation's heart.
The man said in an interview aired by state broadcaster KRT: "Seeing respect general secretary Kim Jong-un) looking emaciated breaks our people's hearts so much.
"Everyone is saying that their tears welled up."
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Kim, who was once much heavier and reportedly an alcoholic with an unhealthy diet, has been the subject of regular health speculation due to his family's history of heart disease.
The leader's father Kim Jong-il and his grandfather, Kim Il-sung – the founder of North Korea – both died of heart issues.
Others reckon Kim's dramatic weight loss is part of a calculated ploy to curry favour with the Korean people in a difficult year blighted by famine and the coronavirus pandemic.
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Meanwhile, Kim has said he is willing to restore a vital communication hotline with South Korea in a possible offer of reconciliation.
He also accused the US of proposing talks without changing its "hostile policy" towards the North.
Pyongyang severed the hotlines in August this year in protest against South Korea-US military drills.
It comes days after North Korea fired a ballistic missile towards the sea as Kim ramped up the dictatorship ramps up its weapons testing, sparking World War Three fears.
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The tyrant hopes to increase the regime's defence capabilities a thousand-fold, according to the state media.
North Korea's ambassador had told the UN in a chilling warning that no country will deny the reclusive state's right to test weapons.
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