Wall Street Journal reports on growing speculation to the whereabouts of Kim Jong-un as he is deemed missing from his usual media spotlight. South Korea believes that North leadership under Kim remains unchanged and there is no indication that Kim is not in command as the country’s dictator.
Kim Jong-un, 31-years old, has not been seen in the public eye since Sept. 3. Now at over a month, his failure to appear has fueled rumors that the dictator is being held against his will in detainment. Analyst suspect that he is being treated for health problems such as gout or ankle difficulties.
The Washington Post reports that people have been questioning whether Kim has been overthrown by members within his government. His absence from key political events, such as the Sept. 25 meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly is the first meeting that Kim has missed since gaining power over the country in the last three years.
Expectations were high that Kim would be seen during Friday’s memorial service for his father and grandfather. When he did not show up, it left many people wondering about his uncharacteristic lack of appearances in past weeks. The memorial service proceeded with a flower basket that was carried in Kim Jong-un’s name. It was displayed for observers. Watchers then assumed Kim would be present at the main event, but when he did not show up there either, the global media began to worry.
One member of the South Korean government, a deputy chairman, negates everything in the media. He said that nothing is wrong with Kim’s health; he is still in full control of his government.
A source is downplaying speculations that the dictator’s health and power are in conflict. Kim has not made any public appearances since Sept. 3. Kim Jong-un has been missing from recent all media appearances. The states medica agency, KCNA, was also not present on Friday’s memorial service.
Another source who stated he had access to North Korea, close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing, and Kim, says that the dictator hurt his leg while inspecting a military exercise. He added that Kim ordered all of the general to join him in miliary activities. They were rolling, running and crawling. While they were in the drill Kim pulled a tendon and his ankle and knee were injured in August and September.
Many suspect that weight was a contributor to his injuries. Kim has been gaining weight since the passing of this father in 2011. He has been seen limping and it looks as if his injuries have gotten worse.
Another official confirmed that Kim was injured and stated that the dictator will need 100 days of bed rest to recovery. The informants who shared information cannot be identified for security reasons. Amis the speculation, reports show that it is likely that Kim is in full control.
Yet Kim Jong-un’s absence is fueling questions about his heath and a power struggle within the Kim regime. Kim’s sister Kim You Jong is known to have an official rule within the ruling party. His brother Kim John Chol and half-brother are not in the public eye.
Kim has always shared different roles of the government with other leaders, even if the power has shifted it is highly unlikely that any member would want to remove Kim Jong-un from power given his symbolic image as a leader. Kim is known to have the latest nuclear technology. His whereabouts is top priority to the U.S. government. American forces will stay tuned to North Korean media outlets and keep their eye open as whether or not Kim Jong-un remains missing over the coming weeks.
By Carolette Wright