Kim Jong-un snapped at emergency coronavirus meeting despite latest coma rumours
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Kim Jong-un has been pictured at the head of an emergency coronavirus meeting, following rumours that he was in a coma.
The North Korean dictator has made fewer public appearances this year, and reports in April suggested he was in a “vegetative state” after a botched heart operation.
Pictures later emerged of Kim celebrating the opening of a fertiliser factory.
However, Chang Song-min, an ex-aide to late-South Korean president Kim Dae-jung, claimed last weekend that Kim was comatose.
The Korean Central News Agency has since released pictures of the tubby tyrant at a meeting of the politburo of the Workers Party.
Officials assessed “some defects in the state emergency anti-epidemic work for checking the inroads of the malignant virus”, KCNA said in a statement.
North Korea has not reported any confirmed cases of the Covid-19, but Kim said last month that the virus “could be said to have entered” the country and imposed a lockdown after a man was reported to have symptoms.
Later test results were inconclusive, according to the World Health Organisation.
Kim had this month lifted a three-week lockdown in the city of Kaesong after a suspected case of the coronavirus there.
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Chang Song-min earlier claimed that recent photos of Kim’s appearances have been faked.
Speaking with local media, he said: “I assess him to be in a coma, but his life has not ended.”
Chang also argued that Kim was preparing to hand over the reins to younger sister Kim Yo-jong, 33.
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He added: “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.”
South Korean spies earlier said his sister now serves as his “de facto second in command”.
The National Intelligence Service said the shift in power seeks to “relieve (Kim’s) stress from his reign and avert culpability in the event of policy failure”, according to the Yonhap News Agency.
It reportedly told officials behind closed doors: “Currently, Kim Yo-jong, the first vice department director of the Workers' Party Central Committee, is steering overall state affairs based on the delegation.”
- Kim Jong Un
- North Korea Dprk
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