Tags: Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | North Korea | kim jong un | absence | missing

Hoekstra, Whiton: Kim Jong Un Absence Likely Not a Coup

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Oct 2014 03:33 PM

Deposed, or just delayed? The lengthy absence of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un from the public stage — a place he's known to enjoy — is a mystery even to the U.S. intelligence community, two global security experts told Newsmax TV on Wednesday.

Pete Hoekstra, former House intelligence chairman, and Christian Whiton, a principal at D.C. International Advisory, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner that theories abound but facts are scarce concerning the 31-year-old maximum ruler.

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"We do not have a good insight into what's going on in North Korea," said ex-congressman Hoekstra. "We haven't had it for a long time, and we don't have it now."

Kim, who developed a visible limp this summer, was last photographed by state media on Sept. 3 at a concert with his wife. An official documentary that aired on Sept. 25 explained that the country's dear leader was "suffering discomfort."

He did not attend the latest session of parliament, and a deputy went in his stead to the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea — although Kim did send along his prized cheerleading ensemble.

"There are two theories," said Whiton, a former State Department official. "One is that he is recovering from surgery relating to his weight problem and stress that put on his ankles."

Whiton said that the other theory — a shakeup in a country known for crushing dissent — rests dubiously on an impromptu diplomatic visit to South Korea by two high-ranking Pyongyang officials.

"There's some people talking about perhaps a fall from grace or a coup," said Whiton.

"[But] I just don't think you'd have those other senior North Korean leaders traveling if really there was some sort of revolution or major change afoot in Pyongyang.

"But ultimately we don't really know," he said. "Our $50 billion a year intelligence community doesn't really know."

Hoekstra guessed that Kim is recovering from surgery and will re-emerge in the coming weeks — "and it will be North Korea as usual," he said.

Speculation aside, Hoekstra said that a coup would be a major development because it would create "a whole new frame of uncertainty."

"North Korea has a nuclear program," he said. "They've probably got chemical weapons. They've been marketing — they've been distributing — their nuclear program to the other countries. So the thing there is the uncertainty.

"If there is a coup," he said, "if there is new leadership, we just don't know what direction that they would move in. Would they become more extreme or, hopefully, would they become more engaged with the rest of the world? Would they sideline their nuke program? There's not enough information for us to make an accurate assessment at this time."

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Deposed, or just delayed? The lengthy absence of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un from the public stage — a place he's known to enjoy — is a mystery even to the U.S. intelligence community, two global security experts told Newsmax TV on Wednesday.
kim jong un, absence, missing
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2014-33-08
Wednesday, 08 Oct 2014 03:33 PM
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