(Bloomberg) -- South Korea’s spy agency says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be suffering from a sleep disorder and they’re monitoring him for a potentially worsening alcohol and nicotine dependency.
North Korean authorities are “intensely” collecting overseas medical information for top ranking officials with insomnia, including details on medications used to treat it like Zolpidem, the National Intelligence Service told lawmakers Wednesday.
Yoo Sang-bum, a lawmaker for South Korea’s ruling People Power Party and executive secretary of the parliamentary intelligence committee, shared details of the NIS briefing with reporters afterwards. Lawmakers usually call in the NIS to ask questions after major security issues.
North Korea has recently imported a large amount of foreign cigarettes from brands including Marlboro and Dunhill, as well as high-end snacks that are traditionally served with alcohol, Yoo said, adding that AI analysis of Kim puts him at around 140 kg (300 pounds).
Meanwhile, the plight for North Koreans has worsened with increasing food shortages and a spike in grain prices to the highest level since Kim took power, Yoo said, and crimes, suicides and deaths from starvation have increased.
North Korea failed to launch a satellite into orbit Wednesday morning and promised to revive efforts soon. The incident prompted an erroneous emergency alert from the Seoul government that caused panic. South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers that Kim likely observed the launch, and that the satellite is only capable of rudimentary reconnaissance missions.
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