North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un’s health problems have returned, according to a report in South Korea newspaper JoongAng Ilbo.
Speculation swirled earlier this year about Kim’s health when he disappeared from public for over a month after he was seen limping across a stage. He then reappeared in October and was photographed walking with a cane.
South Korean government officials said on Monday that Kim, 30, has had a relapse in his health problems. He was reportedly seen “severely limping” in a video clip from an event that took place at the end of last month. North Korean state TV reportedly aired the clip on Sunday.
Kim started having problems with his leg last spring, according to the newspaper.
North Korean state TV has previously alluded to some sort of ailment, saying “Kim is suffering from uncomfortable physical condition,” but has not elaborated on what was ailing him.
The most likely explanation for Kim’s earlier absence is that he was recovering from some sort of operation or dealing with other health issues. A source with access to North Korea’s leadership told Reuters that Kim hurt his leg while overseeing military exercises, while other North Korean officials said his health is fine.
South Korean officials say Kim underwent an ankle surgery after visiting French, Chinese, and Russian doctors, JoongAng Ilbo reports.
While Kim was out of public view earlier this year, rumours about his 25-year-old younger sister Kim Yo Jong started spreading. Some observers have said that she’s rising to power in North Korea and is the elder Kim’s closest confidante.
JoongAng Ilbo reports that intelligence officials think Kim Yo Jong is being groomed to succeed Kim Jong Un if an emergency arises.
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