Tags: kim jong un | misses | ceremony | speculation | whereabouts

Kim Jong Un: Speculation Swirls on Whereabouts After Missed Ceremony

Image: Kim Jong Un: Speculation Swirls on Whereabouts After Missed Ceremony
Photo provided by Korean Central News Agency on Aug. 24, 2014 shows Kim Jong Un inspects the November 2 Factory of the Korean People's Army. (KCNA/Xinhua/Landov)

By    |   Friday, 10 Oct 2014 05:55 PM

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is still missing from public view, and on Friday, he failed to attend a ceremony honoring his father and grandfather, which fueled speculation over his health and whereabouts.

Kim hasn’t been seen in public since Sept. 3, his longest absence from the public eye. State media said Kim has been experiencing "discomfort," but didn’t identify what may be the problem.

CNN said Kim was hobbling during the summer, which caused people to theorize that he had gout or had gained weight.

"Whenever someone doesn't show up in the public, we tend to speculate something of a power struggle," Han Park, author of "North Korea Demystified," told CNN.

Since the country’s leadership keeps a tight grip on what’s happening politically, watching public events is one way that people gauge the environment.

"We're always operating on this incomplete info," Joshua Stanton, a North Korea observer with One Free Korea, told CNN.

Victor Cha, the former director for Asian Affairs for the National Security Council, wrote on Politico that while he considered Kim a modern Caligula, he worried that his absence might impact the nukes in North Korea. 

“Who’s in charge matters,” BBC’s Steven Evans agreed, “because North Korea remains heavily armed and has developed nuclear weapons, though not small enough yet to be carried by rockets.”

But it could just be health issues, Cha said.

“It could very well be that the young guy just needs some R&R. After all, when you are running the world’s last remaining Stalinist dictatorship, your economy is in shambles, your only friend in the world (China) is pissed off at you, you are under a battery of international sanctions and you might soon be referred to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, life must be pretty stressful,” Cha wrote.

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North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un is still missing from public view, and on Friday, he failed to attend a ceremony honoring his father and grandfather, which fueled speculation over his health and whereabouts.
kim jong un, misses, ceremony, speculation, whereabouts
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2014-55-10
Friday, 10 Oct 2014 05:55 PM
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