Reports coming in from various sources around the globe claim that the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un is dead. Others say that he is in a ‘vegetative state’, similar to a coma, wherein a person is technically awake but shows no sign of awareness or consciousness.
The causes are equally shrouded in mystery, with conflicting reports claiming that the ruler caught a severe case of COVID-19, while others claim that his condition is a result of complications caused by a poor lifestyle, North Korean Dictator Kim being an obese chain smoker or a botched heart surgery. It should also be noted that certain sources from China and South Korea claim that the dictator is in no serious danger. But these reports are vastly outnumbered by those making more morbid claims.
The North Korean government itself hasn’t reported anything out of the ordinary and continues to release old or undated statements on behalf of the Supreme Leader. But, Kim failed to attend the Day of the Sun (birthday of the founding father of North and Jong-un’s Grandfather, Kim Il-sung) celebrations on April 15. Reports of Chinese medical officials being dispatched to their allied nation of North Korea have also come out, increasing the possible severity of Kim’s health condition.
This is not the first time Kim has disappeared from the public eye for extended periods of time. In 2014, he disappeared for over a month and was later seen walking with a noticeable limp, sparking rumors of ill-health for the first time.
If he is indeed in extremely poor health or has passed away, there is every chance that North Korea has not made an official statement in lieu of someone to fill his position. Kim, who ruthlessly executed his uncle and elder brother to remove any threats to his power, hasn’t specified a successor. His ambitious sister, older Korean brother, and political right-hand man, as well as various generals in the military, could lay a claim to the throne and trigger a major power struggle. His sister, Kim Yo-jong, seems to be the frontrunner for power, having made her first solo public statement a month ago, calling South Korea a ‘frightened barking dog’.
Reports are conflicting and offer opposing views. Some regional experts urge the public not to take any of this as gospel, as Kim’s death has been rumored since he came to power. The death of Kim Jong-un could have massive repercussions, including but not limited to the balance of power in his country, in the Korean Peninsula, in Asia, and in the entire world. But we won’t know for sure until he is seen in public again, or these reports are confirmed by North Korea.