Yeonmi Park claimed to the New York Post the leader of North Korea is still in control, despite rumours of his death. In April, Mr Kim was absent f
Yeonmi Park claimed to the New York Post the leader of North Korea is still in control, despite rumours of his death. In April, Mr Kim was absent from public events for three weeks, leading to rumours he had fallen seriously ill or died. Ms Yeonmi also spoke about life under Mr Kim’s regime, and about the rumours his sister Kim Yo-jong would take over his position.
Ms Yeonmi claimed sources in North Korea told her the leader is still alive and in power.
She said to the Post: “Kim Jong Un is very much in power and he’s not dying anytime soon.”
Ms Yeonmi added Ms Kim will not be taking over anytime soon due to the leaders health.
She added: “We can agree that Kim Yo Jong is not taking over North Korea and I don’t think that is in her interest.”
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Ms Yeonmi said one key sign the leader is still in power is because he has not publicly announced a successor in his family, unlike his father and grandfather Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung.
She said to the Post: “Before Kim Jong Il died, it wasn’t like one day Kim Jong Un took over. Kim Jong Il made sure his son was known to the North Korean people and it was clear that he was the next heir.
“He prepared him for at least three years beforehand.
“I’m sure if Kim Jong un’s health is bad that he would announce his sister to be the next successor but direct from my North Korean source, that is not the case.
“He’s not anywhere near to being replaced.”
Since his suspected death was reported, Mr Kim has made very few public appearances.
Most recently, he visited a western coastal region in North Korea hit by Typhoon Bavi.
The Korean Central News Agency said the leader believed damage from the typhoon “is smaller than expected” and felt “fortunate to have that amount of damage”.
His last appearance came in a politburo meeting with ruling party leaders.
But Chang Song-min, former aide to president Kim Dae-jung, claimed pictures of Mr Kim since April were faked.
He added to local media: “I assess him to be in a coma, but his life has not ended.”
Reuters also said, according to South Korean intelligence, Kim Jong Un had transferred some powers to his sister to look after “general state affairs” in order to relieve himself from some of the workload.
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service concluded the move to transfer some of the powers to Kim Yo Jong establishes the fact that she has attained the position of “de-facto second in command” in the regime.