North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s apparent weight loss has caused rumors to spread about the month he recently spent out of the public eye, the Independent reports.

Last week, Kim appeared in public for the first time in nearly a month during a meeting of the ruling party politburo. NK News reports the dictator appears to have lost a “significant amount of weight,” and later published photos that they said showed Kim has tightened the band on his watch.

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Kim, who is a well-known heavy smoker, has reportedly gained weight steadily since taking over as the country’s leader following the death of his father in 2011. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, which monitors his health, told legislators last year they thought Kim weighed about 300 pounds at that time, and had “gained an average of 6 to 7 kilograms per year.”

“On the surface, noticeable weight loss may not mean much, but it can provide clues to other information that intelligence collectors look for,” Mike Brodka, a U.S. intelligence officer in South Korea, told NK News.

Read more at NEWSMAX.