Speculation concerning the health of Kim Jong Un have escalated over the past twenty-four hours as separate reports have indicated Kim is alive, dead, and in a vegetative state. These reports from various sources fueled false rumors of Kim’s death across social media platforms for much of Saturday. At present, the fact remains that no one outside of the North Korean government can be certain of anything when it comes to the health of Kim Jong Un.
Having said that, as some of the pieces of the puzzle are coming into focus it is becoming evident that something is going on in the DPRK. Saturday was the 88th Anniversary of the founding of the nation’s armed forces. A day of national celebration which traditionally sees North Korea’s leader attending a parade in Pyongyang, as state-run media fawns over him and his more recent achievements. At today’s celebrations, there was no sign of Kim. This certainly adds some credence to the rumor that North Korea’s leader is in a medically induced coma, or vegetative state due to complications stemming from a heart operation earlier this month.
Quite frankly, its not outside the realm of possibility that Kim could be brain dead or deceased entirely for that matter. If either turns out to be true, the fact that no mention has been made to the people of North Korea, or the outside world is not out of the ordinary. As was the case when Kim Jong Il died in 2011, there was a period of preparation that went on between his death, and the news being transmitted. The North Korean government required some time to ensure that the transition of power would be smooth. Something quite similar might be taking place now.
Or, on the other side of the coin, Kim could be dead and instead, factions in Pyongyang are maneuvering for power behind the scenes and word of the Supreme Leader’s demise is being held back until North Korea’s next ruler is determined.