AGENCIES, Seoul, S Korea: North Korean state media on Wednesday made no mention of appearances by leader Kim Jong Un, amid continued international speculation over his health following reports he underwent heart surgery.
On Wednesday, the main stories from the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) included features on sports equipment, mulberry picking and a meeting in Bangladesh to study North Korea’s “juche” or self-reliance ideology. The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried articles on a self-sufficient economy and anti-coronavirus measures.
Officials in South Korea and China and sources familiar with US intelligence have cast doubt on media reports that claimed Kim was gravely ill after a cardiovascular procedure, while the White House said it was closely monitoring the issue.
Talks of succession are doing rounds if the unforeseen were to happen. A political upheaval would be unlikely as Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong is already exercising significant influence within the government, and most members of North Korea’s leadership share an interest with the Kim family in maintaining the North’s system.