North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong Un has been missing from the limelight for weeks now fuelling speculations of him being severely ill or even dead. Recently, a North Korean defector has thrown weight behind these rumours by stating that he is sure that the North Korean leader is dead. Ji Seong-ho, who defected from North Korea to the South in 2009, has told media that he had been informed that Kim Jong Un died last week after cardiovascular surgery.
Seong-Ho who was elected to the South Korean parliament earlier this year told the state's news agency that he wondered how long could Kim endured cardiovascular surgery. He added that he is not 100 per cent certain but the possibility is 99 per cent. Seong-Ho also claimed that North Korea is believed to be grappling with a complicated succession issue.
The North Korean leadership has never publicly disclosed any succession plans. However, Kim's sister is believed to be the successor owing to her visible presence around the dictator. She was named an alternate member of the ruling Workers’ Party’s powerful Central Committee Politburo last month.
The North Korean supreme has not made a public appearance since April 11 and was even absent at the Day of the Ceremony honouring his grandfather Kim II-Sung. However, South Korea's minister in charge of North Korean affairs believes that the Coronavirus outbreak might have kept Kim from making a public appearance. Global leadership including Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and American President Donald Trump have also been following the situation closely. While Trump stated that he 'understood' what's going on with the Korean leader, Shinzo Abe stated that he has been following the situation closely.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on April 30 that they have no information regarding the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. During a virtual press briefing, Guterres was asked whether any UN official had been in touch with any North Korean official on the medical condition and whereabouts of North’s Supreme Leader. "We have no information about the situation of Kim Jong Un,” said Guterres. The last reported presence of Kim was during a Politburo meeting on April 11.