Kim Jong Un has been missing for 37-days, and the conspiracy theorists are having a field day speculating about the reasons why. On Friday, the 31-year-old dictator did not attend, and was not on the dignitary’s list, for the Workers’ Party 69th anniversary.
There is no official explanation as to the reasons why Kim has not been seen in public for over a month — the longest disappearance since he came to power in 2011 — but there is plenty of conjecture as to what could have happened to the secretive ruler. Last month, state news — which is the government’s mouthpiece — said he was suffering from “an uncomfortable physical condition,” which many took as his gout getting worse.
In videos of Kim Jong Un’s last public appearances, he is seen visibly limping and moving slowly, but without knowing exactly what is affecting North Korea’s dictator, it’s hard to tell what is behind his condition. Kim was last seen on September 3, attending a concert.
Experts outside the country don’t believe that a secret coup has toppled Kim, as has been previously reported, but it is thought that his rule could be in jeopardy if he is indeed suffering from medical issues. Unnamed sources tell South Korean reporters it may be gout, diabetes, or high blood pressure.
Another source told Sky News on Friday that Kim suffered a pulled tendon during a military drill. However, there is no official confirmation.
A surprise visit to South Korea last week by three senior North Korean leaders, who also attended the closing ceremonies of the Asian Games in Incheon, fueled even more speculation as to Kim’s whereabouts. However, the delegation assured the South that Kim was healthy.
One of the theories floating around is that Kim’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, is running North Korea in her brother’s absence, as reported by the Inquisitr.
“She is one of the only people in that we know has unfettered direct access to Kim Jong Un. At the present time I would not be surprised if she is the sole gatekeeper,” says Michael Madden, who runs the North Korea Leadership Watch blog.
Not much is known about the sister, other than she was born in the 80s. At a recent appearance on state television, she was identified as a senior official.
Kim Jong Un missed a North Kore parliament meeting last month, and was absent again from an event to celebrate his late father’s election as ruling party head. More importantly, he missed the opportunity to greet athletes who returned from the Asian Games, which was widely televised and promoted.