AGENCIES, Seoul: Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s reclusive leader has certainly kept global media on tenterhooks. Un, who abruptly disappeared from state media for three weeks aroused rumours regarding his health as he missed an important event — the Founder’s Day on April 15 that also marks the birthday of Kim Il-sung, his grandfather and the founder of the country.
Rumours about his passing were also discussed along with succession. While the world was debating his fate, he suddenly emerges at a fertiliser plant inauguration on May 1 at Sunchon, an industrial city north of Pyongyang, according the state controlled media.
Various theories have been proposed of what could have happened and why. Here’s a look at some of the popular ones.
Sky News Australia has said that 36-year-old Kim, may have deliberately pretended to be dead so that he could figure out if there were leaks in his inner circle in North Korea. The leader’s reappearance into the spotlight has certainly ruined the credibility of high profile defectors who had suggested Kim Jong was suffering from a life-threatening illness or had died.
Among them were Thae Yong-ho, former deputy ambassador to Britain who on Monday issued an apology for his claims. The other prominent defector elected to Parliament for the opposition, Ji Seong-ho, had said in a media interview he was 99% certain that Kim had died after cardiovascular surgery based on information from unknown sources
Daily NK, a Seoul-based news outlet with sources inside North Korea, reported in April that Kim Jong Un was recovering from a cardiovascular procedure. This was the strongest theory in circulation that began with the obese leader collapsing during an event due to overwork. Rumour has it he underwent emergency surgery for a stent and went into coma during the procedure due to complications. Jennifer Zeng, a blogger has shared numerous photos which have gained traction online suggest the surgery did happen.
Denial of heart surgery
South Korea’s spy agency said on Wednesday there are no signs North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has received heart surgery, the Yonhap news agency reported. But certain photographic evidence has pinpointed tell-tale signs that he had surgery. The most prominent one is an infusion mark on his right arm spotted after his reappearance.
Video footage of Kim’s visit to the factory in Suncheon appears to show a small wound on his right wrist – a mark which was not present on his previous public appearance on April 11.
A lot of suggestions on Twitter claim that “it could absolutely be a dude with plastic surgery”, while referring to the May 1 image. It is a well-known fact that Kim uses body doubles” and even travels with them to protect himself from “possible assassination attempts”.
To prove whether it was the real Kim or a fake, people have mostly been focusing on teeth and ears in the photographs with interesting interpretations.