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Watch | Where was Kim Jong-Un?

The Internet is abundant with speculations about the health of North Korea's hereditary leader Kim Jong-Un. His absence from the Day of the Sun celebrations on April 15 first sparked rumours about his ill-health.

Marking the birth anniversary of Mr. Kim's grandfather Kim Il-sung, it is the most important holiday in North Korea. This is the first time the North Korean leader has missed the key state anniversary event since his succession in 2011.

Unnamed American intelligence officials told CNN that he’s in “grave danger”. U.S. President Donald Trump called the reports “incorrect” when asked about them.

38 North, a North Korea-focused website, had released a satellite image of a train which is speculated to belong to Mr. Kim, parked near the leader’s compound in the North Korean port-city of Wonsan.

This is not the first time Mr. Kim is disappearing from the public view. In 2014, he went missing from the state media for over a month, stirring speculations about his health. Mr. Kim later reappeared with a cane.

His absence from the public eye has triggered speculations on who could be his successor. Kim Jong Un is believed to have three children with wife Ri Sol Ju according to the South Korean intelligence. The youngest child was born in 2017 and the oldest is a 10-year-old son.

As of now, it is Mr. Kim’s younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, who is seen as a potential successor. She is serving formally as a vice director of the ruling Workers' Party's powerful Central Committee.

His older full-brother Kim Jong-chol has largely stayed out of politics and is unlikely to emerge as a major presence.

Analysts say Party elders Choe Ryong Hae and Pak Pong Ju are likely to be the figureheads leading a collective leadership.

On May 2, Korean Central News Agency said Mr. Kim attended a ceremony in Suncheon, along with other senior officials, including his sister, Kim Yo Jong. But photos from the ceremony weren’t immediately released.


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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 7:08:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/kim-jong-uns-disappearance/article31493613.ece

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