Speculation over missing North Korea Leader runs rampant

September 30, 2014
Kim Jong-un

The defector run Free North Korea Radio ― stated that the North Korean leader is undergoing rehabilitation following ankle surgery.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has missed public appearances for almost a month.

Speculation over his absence reached a peak after Kim missed a Supreme People’s Assembly meeting last Thursday.

Kim had not missed this meeting since he took the power in 2012.

One rumor alleged that Cho Myong-rok, the director of the General Political Bureau of Korean People’s Army, attempted to overthrow Kim in a military coup.

The story went viral in the Beijing diplomatic community until it was dismissed after it was pointed out that Cho died of a heart attack at the age of 82 on Nov. 6, 2010.

Another ― propagated by the defector run Free North Korea Radio ― stated that the North Korean leader is undergoing rehabilitation following ankle surgery.

The most credible explanation is that health issues are behind Kim’s absences. North Korea’s state-controlled television footage of the last Kim Il-sung memorial event on July 8 showed the 31-year-old Kim limping on his left side. Kim, who allegedly suffers from diabetes and hypertension, also has gout, which caused him to limp, according to Yonhap News Agency.

South Korean officials are looking to the North Korean Workers Party anniversary next month to see whether the North Korean leader makes an appearance.

Kim has actively dealt with rumors around himself. When gossip about his wife, Ri Sol-ju, erupted after her 20-day long absence in public last year, Kim nipped this in the bud by appearing jointly with her at official functions.

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