Since Kim Jong Un was last seen on April 11, rumors suggest he is in critical condition or dead.
Rabat – Kim Jong Un has been serving as North Korea’s supreme leader since 2011, but the latest reports suggest that he may no longer be in power. Since his last public appearance on April 11, speculation has been mounting that the country’s 36-year-old leader is dead or battling health issues.
There have been no credible reports verifying Kim’s whereabouts or medical condition. Rumors of his death emerged after the leader did not appear at the country’s most important holiday—the founder of North Korea (his late grandfather)’s birthday celebration on April 15.
In South Korea, a news outlet later published a story claiming that Kim was recovering from heart surgery at a villa outside Pyongyang, the nation’s capital. Multiple sources, including news outlets in China, Japan, and North Korea; a former North Korean deputy ambassador; and North Korean defectors have commented on Kim’s poor health.
On Twitter, the trending hashtag #KIMJUNGUNDEAD, has been used to both speculate and ridicule the news.
A North Korean state newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, reported Kim Jong Un sending a message to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on April 22. It is unclear if the leader legitimately released the message.
North Korea, well known for being a state of mystery and dictatorship, has kept secret any clues that might answer where Kim has been since April 11.
A private train parked at the “leadership station” was spotted on April 21 and 23 in satellite images captured by a US-based North Korea monitoring project, 38 North. The train is said to be used exclusively by the Kim family and only used on unspecified occasions.
The majority of rumors related to Kim’s vanishing are centered around his health and possible passing; however, some others have suggested he is carefully isolating from the COVID-19 virus.
This is not the first time Kim has gone missing. In 2014, the leader disappeared apparently for reasons related to his health. Due to obesity, heavy smoking, and hereditary illnesses, Kim has been repeatedly reported to suffer from medical issues.
As North Korea’s third-generation leader, it is unclear who is next in line to emerge as the country’s next leader. Kim’s younger sister, Kim Yo-jong is reported to be the next most likely candidate.