We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.
Questions about Kim’s health spread after Chang Song-min, who advised a former South Korean president, claimed he had been in a coma since April. In response Mr Chang said Kim Yo-jong, who is four years younger than her brother, was being “brought to the fore” to prevent a political vacuum emerging.
However, on in late August North Korea’s state controlled KCNA news agency released pictures which appeared to show Kim taking part in a meeting with other top North Korean officials.
According to the New Zealand Herald Kim is “furious” at reports his sister was being readied to replace him.
As Kim Yo-jong hasn’t been seen in public since July 27 this has sparked speculation she may have been purged.
Kim’s older half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, was murdered in 2017 by a nerve agent in Malaysia.
The North Korean state is widely regarded as having been behind the attack.
Speaking to South Korean news site Chosun Ilbo Professor Nam Sung-wook of Korea University said being seen as Kim’s heir apparent was a dangerous position.
He commented: “In the past, anyone was deprived of their position the moment they were described as the number two person in the North.
“There must be a semblance of checks and balances, although Kim Yo-jong is a family member.”
Kim Yo-jong is said to be “the commander in chief of all quarantine efforts” to fight the coronavirus in North Korea which could also explain her absence.
North Korea has yet to officially admit to any cases of COVID-19.
However, in July Kim admitted the virus “could be said to have entered” the country.
Around the same time Kaesong, a city near the southern border, was placed into lockdown for three weeks after a suspected coronavirus case was detected.
North Korea crisis: Kim Jong-un could EXECUTE sister over power grab [SHOCK]
Donald Trump holds secret phone call with outgoing Japanese PM [NORTH KOREA]
North Korea mystery: Kim Jong-un plots to unveil ‘top-secret weapon’ [REVEAL]
Further lockdown measures were introduced nationwide after a man reported COVID-19 like symptoms but the World Health Organisation later said tests were inconclusive.
Speaking to Voice of America about the situation inside North Korea a source within the country said: “All international borders remain closed.
“Supplies coming to Nampo seaport remain suspended as there are no ships sailing in from China’s Dalian port where COVID-19 cases were detected.
“Only Covid-19-related shipments are being allowed through Sinuiju-Dandong border,” a North Korean source told Voice of America.”
However, on August 28 thousands gathered in North Korea’s capital Pyongyang to celebrate the country’s Youth Day.
Last month Chang Song-min caused controversy by repeating his claim that Kim could be seriously ill.
He said: “I assess him to be in a coma, but his life has not ended.
“A complete succession structure has not been formed, so Kim Yo-jong is being brought to the fore as the vacuum cannot be maintained for a prolonged period.”
However, the claim was rejected as “absurd” by Shinmoongo, a leading South Korean news site.
Source: Read Full Article