Is North Korea’s Leader Dead or Alive?

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Lance Cross, Staff Writer

Recently there has been a lot of news questioning the status of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. It was reported that he was dead after a botched heart surgery. Additionally, he was also rumored to be recuperating at a resort. This rumor started in a South Korean publication named Daily NK. From there, these rumors spread from Korea to western publications like CNN and TMZ. All of this news sounded more credible because Kim Jong Un had not been seen in public for quite a while, and that left people wondering. 

Eventually, this rumor evolved into Kim dying from his failed heart surgery. There was never confirmation of it though, and South Korea was insistent that there was nothing irregular going on in North Korea. This was perpetuated by the fact that China, an ally of North Korea, sent a medical team there at the time these rumors were going around. From these rumors spread many online jokes about the surgeon who messed up the surgery having to flee and Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong taking over after her brother’s death.

Kim was finally seen publicly in a video of him at the opening of a fertilizer plant. It was released in North Korean media though, so the legitimacy of the video could be questionable. For now, it seems as though he is alive, but North Korea is very closed off with information. This lack of transparency with the news is what helps rumors like these spread.

These rumors had people talking about who the next leader would be if Kim Jon Un did die because he does not have a son who is old enough. The candidate people find most likely is his sister Kim Yo Jong, but if they would not allow a female leader, his uncle is another possible candidate. These successors would likely be similar to the current leader though, so not much would change.