Speculation that missing North Korean leader seriously ill

Washington is monitoring intelligence that Kim Jong-un had undergone heart surgery, was in grave danger and is recuperating at a villa in North Phyongan on the east coast. It was first reported in the Daily NK, an outlet run mostly by North Korean defectors. South Korea and China cast doubts on the report. They don’t explain why the North Korean dictator has been missing since April 11, or his mysterious absence from the celebration of his late grandfather Kim Il-Sung’s birthday on April 15. Neither has the outbreak of coronavirus in North Korea brought Kim to the public eye.

The Daily NK says Kim’s health had deteriorated in recent months due to heavy smoking, obesity and overwork and tags his sister, Kim Yo-Jong, as in line for the succession. Chairman of the Organization and Guidance Department Choe Ryong Hae, is another likely candidate.

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