SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – North Korean despot Kim Jong-un has today missed a key political anniversary raising further speculation about his health.
The 31-year-old – who has not been seen in public for over a month – failed to turn up to a ceremony to mark the 69th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party.
Experts said this week that if the dictator failed to turn up to the event – which all leaders have previously attended – it would be a sure sign his leadership is in doubt.
Despite the doubts, South Korea today said it still believed its rival’s leader was still in power.
Yonhap news agency quoted the country’s Unification Ministry spokesman Lim Byeong-cheol as saying: “It seems that Kim Jong-un’s rule is in normal operation.
“With regard to his specific health conditions, our government has no information to confirm yet,” he said.
One theory among experts is that the North Korean despot may have handed over his dictatorship – to his 25-year-old sister.
As speculation mounts over his fading health a group of defectors believe the 31-year-old’s youngest sibling, Kim Yo Jong, is now running the country as her brother battles to recuperate.
Kim Jong-un has not been seen in public since September 3 when he attended a concert with his wife.
Before then he was seen walking with a limp forcing the state-run Korean Central News Agency to issue a statement saying the Supreme Leader had been suffering “discomfort”.
The move led to many believing it was a sign his grip on power was slipping.
Now according to reports in the US, the North Korea Intellectuals’ Solidarity, a think-tank run by defectors, believe Kim Yo Jong could now be charge.
Crucially she is one of only a handful of people given direct access to Kim Jong-un and briefed on all developments.
“She is one of the only people [in North Korea] that we know has unfettered direct access to KJU,” Michael Madden, editor of the North Korea Leadership Watch blog.
Madden says she has already been identified as deputy director of the Workers’ Party, a very powerful position within North Korea.
Earlier this year she began being seen at several high level meetings.
Victor Cha, an analyst with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, who previously handled the North Korea account with the National Security Council, said: ”Clearly it’s an effort to slow-track her into becoming somebody who is important within the system.
“I can see how it’s possible that she’s in some sort of temporary position. It’s very difficult for the North Korean system to run without one of the Kim family at least in charge. So, if Kim Jong Un is indisposed, she’s really the only available body that’s left, in terms of a direct Kim family line.”
He expressed concerns over her age in relation to the responsibilities she now holds.
“If in fact she is running the country as someone in their early to mid twenties, to me that is quite alarming,” Cha says.
“It means there is something seriously wrong with Kim Jong Un and there is some sort of void that they’re desperately trying to fill.”
Born in 1987 Yo Jong is the youngest of Kim Jong Un’s seven known brothers and sisters and is understood to have attended boarding school in Switzerland with him.
They both stayed at the North Korean embassy while in Europe living under assumed names.
Previously Yo Jong worked for her father Kim Jong-il working as an advance-team leader, inspecting sites before official visits, and had administrative duties as well.
It is role she is said to now fulfil for her ailing brother.
She acts “almost like a White House chief-of-staff would,” Madden added.
It was recently been reported that Jong-un’s weight gain is down to his love of cheese .
When fit and healthy, Kim Jong-un is often pictured looking at things.
Source: The Mirror