North Korea’s leader is reportedly facing a “midlife crisis” and is lavishing on fine wines and spirits.
One Seoul-based scholar claims that Kim Jong-un was drinking heavily and crying by the time he turned 39.
Dr. Choi Jin-wook said amid rumors swirling that the North Korean leader’s health was deteriorating. Telegraph: “He drinks fine spirits and wine like a fish. He says he drinks a lot and cries. He’s very lonely and under pressure.”
Jinwook said Kim Jong-un has been warned by his doctor to stop drinking and exercise more often. Medical officials are also concerned about the leader’s heavy smoking and obesity, and there are long-standing rumors that the supreme leader is suffering from gout.
In 2010, Kim Jong-un claimed to have drunk 10 bottles of Bordeaux wine in one night, with French wines being his favorite. The sushi chef who personally served the leader for 13 years has revealed that he has an obsession with fine wine and Swiss cheese. A fan of the latter, he is said to have sent North Korean officials to culinary schools to learn the art of cheese-making after becoming frustrated by South Korean chefs’ inability to recreate European flavors.
The influx of fine wines into North Korea has increased significantly in the last year, with department stores hiring professional sommeliers to offer premium presentations for their customers. The retailer signs contracts with premium producers abroad to ship their wine exclusively to the North Korean market.
This follows a 70% surge in whiskey imports to South Korea in 2021, according to data from the Korea Customs Service.
This means that fine wines and spirits are more readily available, even for North Koreans who do not have state coffers at hand.
Sources say Kim Jong-un is having a midlife crisis and is afraid to follow in his father’s footsteps, who were plagued with health problems.
Kim Jong Il was said to be fond of cognac and cigars and battled diabetes throughout his life. He had a stroke in his 2008 and died of heart failure in 2011.
Insiders say the current leader, Kim Jong-un, is determined to survive and stay in power. “His goal is very simple: to die of natural causes in the palace in a few decades. He wants to stay in power,” said professor Andrei Lankov of Kookmin University in Seoul.