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Is Kim Jong-un dead? Here’s everything you need to know so far

By Alma Fabiani

Apr 29, 2020

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North Korea is yet to confirm the reports, but many have been speculating over the country’s leader Kim Jong-un and whether he is still alive or not. This rumour started when a video titled Our Beloved Supreme Leader Comrade Kim Jong Un passed away during on-the-spot guidance circulated in the area of North Korea bordering China. Local authorities are still trying to determine how the video entered the country in the first place.

The five-minute clip features the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the memorial of the founder of North Korea Kim Il-sung, South Korean online newspaper Daily NK reported. The video alleged that Jong-un died during a guided field trip on 25 April. Is it true, is Kim Jong-un dead? Here’s what we know so far.

The video of Kim Jong-un might be old

Many have declared that the scenes shown in the video are actually from a previous ceremony that commemorated former leader Kim Jong II’s death. And although the footage may not be authentic, it certainly has not stopped the rumour from spreading like wildfire.

Whoever leaked the video is in big trouble

Although it is prohibited to openly discuss the video in North Korea, it is known that the authorities have created a special unit from the Organization and Guidance Department, the Public Prosecutors’ Office, the MSS and other law enforcement agencies to identify the leak.

Where is Kim Jong-un?

Kim Jong-un has not been seen since 11 April when he last presided over a politburo meeting. Since then, many have speculated that he has died following complications from heart surgery earlier in the month.

No one can say for sure whether this is true or not, as Kim was reported to have gone for heart surgery on 12 April, which many believe could have prompted him to miss a celebration in honour of his grandfather’s birthday at Kumsusan Palace of the Sun.

This means that, although the media in North Korea is still reporting on the leader’s activities, it has not been able to release any recent photos or videos that prove he is alive.

Will Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, take his place?

If Kim Jong-un is in fact dead, it would beg the question of who would replace him. Many have already suggested that his sister Kim Yo Jong, who currently serves as the first deputy director of the North Korean communist party’s propaganda and agitation department, will now take over.

Is Kim Jong-un dead? Here’s everything you need to know so far

This could be a possibility as Jong-un’s own children are still too young to take over with the eldest, a girl, thought to be around 10 years old. But even though Yo Jong has the pure blood of the Kim family, is already a member of the government and clearly has the trust of her brother, it would be surprising for a traditionally male-dominated country such as North Korea to accept a woman as leader.

Other rumours mention Vice Chairman Choe Ryong-Hae, rumoured to be the father in law of Kim Yo Jong and Kim Jae-Ryong, the Premier of North Korea who has risen up through the ranks of government and assumed a high profile role in the military.

It is still unclear whether the North Korean leader is alive or dead

It is impossible for now to tell whether Kim Jong-un is still alive or not, just like it is impossible to predict who will take over if he is dead. Only time will tell.