A US-based Chinese political news website claims the reign of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un may be short-lived.
News broke over the weekend that North Korean state media were reporting 31-year-old Kim was ill, due to his excessive overeating and drinking.
There were no details on his exact condition, but many outlets noted that gout had been a problem for Kim’s father, grandfather and brother.
Nearly two months ago, this video of Kim limping onto stage caused a stir as it is highly unusual for North Korean state media to release images of its leaders looking vulnerable:
Now, according to Duowei News, Kim hasn’t been seen in public for 26 days, including a non-show for a parliamentary session for the first time since he became Supreme Leader three years ago.
The session was notable for the fact Hwang Pyong-So was appointed vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, effectively making him Kim’s second-in-command.
It’s more reshuffling and consolidating for Kim, who in May removed his former No 2, vice marshal Choe Ryong-Hae and the defense minister from their posts.
Another former No 2, Jang Sung-Taek, was executed late last year, along with Kim’s powerful uncle.
Duowei however, suggests Hwang may have forced Kim to promote him, and actually has Kim under arrest as he positions himself to take ultimate power.
Adding to Kim’s woes is a clear public line taken by the Chinese Government to distance itself from his regime.
Duowei says China has refused three state visit requests from Kim in the past year and prefers to side with the international community in opposing North Korea’s nuclear tests.
When it sent an official telegraph to North Korea on 66th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China made a point of recognising the achievements of the Workers’ Party of Korea. In the past, it praised the efforts of Kim’s father and grandfather.
And there’s still the matter of Kim’s older brother, Kim Jong-Nam. According to WantChinaTimes, he last year sent his own son to the renown political science institute in Paris, Sciences Po, in the strongest indication yet he’s not ready to accept the legitimacy of his younger brother’s rule.
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