Daily Memo: Where in the World Is Kim Jong Un?

North Korean state media still have not addressed the rumors, allowing speculation to run rampant.

Kimwatch. North Korean state media still haven’t addressed thinly sourced reports that leader Kim Jong Un may or may not be at death’s door following heart surgery and/or an uncontrolled outbreak of COVID-19 in the capital. Kim hasn’t made a public appearance since April 11, and party mouthpiece Rodong Sinmun did note that the country was “going through hardships.” Seoul continues to insist that everything in the Hermit Kingdom seems more or less normal, but South Korea’s defense chief did say the North has shown “an unusual increase” in inspections of its artillery positions (the North’s biggest deterrent against invasion) and air force flight operations. And other South Korean media outlets are reporting that an outbreak of COVID-19 in Kim’s inner circle had sent Kim scurrying to the beach resort town of Wonsan. (Another South Korean newspaper, Joongang Ilbo, poured fuel on the fire by accidentally publishing a prewritten story announcing Kim’s death.) Prominent North Korean defector Thae Yong Ho said a wave of panic buying of goods had been detected in recent days in Pyongyang — rumors confirmed by both Daily NK and NK News, both of which note that the rush was more likely sparked by new import restrictions. China, […]

Subscribe to Geopolitical Futures today and get:

  • Unbiased analysis of global events
  • Daily geopolitical briefing
  • Annual and long-term forecasts to help you prepare for your future
Subscription Options