After two weeks of absence, there is more and more talk about the remaining of north korea’s ruler kim jong un. Amid conflicting reports on the sole ruler’s health, kim’s presumed private train was spotted by u.S. Experts on the country’s east coast.
The news site "38 north", which specializes in north korea, published satellite images on saturday (local time), which are said to be from the previous week. However, even these recordings did not provide any real information.
The reports of an alleged serious illness of kim, who is only in his mid-30s, have been causing a stir internationally for days now. There is only silence on this from his country, which is fairly isolated internationally. This not only fuels speculation about kim’s well-being. In the meantime, the question of who could follow the youngest ruler of the dictatorial family is also being discussed. Sud korea’s government continues to oppose the idea: nothing is known about a serious illness of kim.
The u.S. Experts themselves wrote about the satellite images that the 250-meter-long train in the coastal town of wonsan does not say anything about where kim himself is or about his health. However, the footage lent weight to reports that kim was "in an elite area on the east coast of the country". The train could have been operated on before. April arrived at a station reserved for stalinist leaders. On 23. April he was still there, "38 north" said.
The presidential office in south korea recently contradicted reports by the us news channel cnn that kim was in "serious danger" after an operation. The sudkorean news portal "daily nk" had previously reported, citing an informant in the neighboring country, that kim had been arrested on 12. April been operated on the heart. He is recovering after an operation. Kim is overweight and considered a heavy smoker.
On sunday, fox news quoted moon chung in, a senior presidential adviser in south korea, as saying that kim was "alive and well". Kim has been in the country since the age of 13. April in wonsan. There is no reliable information on the situation in north korea, which is largely isolated from the outside world. The leadership in pjongjang usually controls information about kim and his family very tightly.
At least there was an announcement in north korea’s state media on sunday. According to the sudkorean news agency yonhap, the neighboring country’s state television reported that kim had increased his appreciation for workers who had built houses in the northern border city of samjiyon. North korea remains silent on kim’s whereabouts or public appearances, yonhap wrote.
There is also no word on an official succession plan in pjongjang. In the center of speculation in sud korea is kim’s younger sister kim yo jong. Kim’s own children — he is said to have three — are too young to be eligible to take power.
The sister, who is in her early 30s, is not only considered an influential adviser to the strongman. It also ensured that power would remain in the hands of the kim dynasty, which has ruled the country for more than 70 years. With the consolidation of kim jong un’s power, the sister also rose in the hierarchy. Meanwhile, she is an "alternative member" of the political bureau of the central committee of the workers’ party. The political bureau is considered the highest executive body within the central committee.
But it is not ruled out that the power is initially exercised by a circle of influential functionaries and militaries. If kim jong un dies before his children are grown, "a collective leadership will most likely be appointed to rule the country before a dynastic successor is ready to take over," north korea expert leonid petrow of the australian national university recently wrote on twitter.