Kim Jong Un, the 31-year-old “semi-divine” leader of the world’s most secretive state, has not made a public appearance in almost 35 days.
Rumours have been flying about what happened to the dictator — some say he’s having health problems, some say someone else has taken control of the country, and others speculate the regime is about to topple.
Three months ago, North Korea’s state media broadcasted footage of the hereditary leader quickly limping onstage at the anniversary memorial service of his grandfather and the nations’ founding president, Kim Il Sung:
Here is a roundup of possible reasons why Kim Jong Un is MIA:
Swiss cheese addiction
Kim Jong Un’s weight apparently ballooned after developing an addiction to Swiss cheese. The excess weight reportedly caused stress fractures in both of his ankles which later required surgery.
Apparently, obesity does greatly increase your risk of getting ankle fractures.
Kim reportedly grew fond of the cheese while he was at boarding school in Switzerland, according to The Telegraph.
Bum ankles from heeled shoes
Another theory is that the North Korean leader tripped while walking in his ‘Cuban heels’ (stylish heels designed for men), according to the Korean news outlet The Chosun Ilbo.
According to the report, Kim Jong Un wore the heels while touring an exhaustive number of Cuban military bases and factories.
Speculation about the Swiss cheese addiction and fractured ankles started after Kim failed to attend last month’s meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly, one of the country’s biggest events.
North Korean state TV reportedly admitted that Kim was ill.
And then there is a chance that the leader may have gout, a form of arthritis characterised by sudden attacks of pain and tenderness in joints.
The gout is said to have been brought on by excessive binge drinking, smoking, and again, an abnormal consumption of Swiss cheese, The Guardian reports.
Despite the perception that Kim has absolute power in North Korea, officials have apparently been criticising Kim and disagreeing with his policies recently, which has led to speculation about a possible coup.
This is rather unlikely since people have been predicting the demise of the North Korean regime for decades, but there are some signs that this is a possibility. The North Korean capital is in a lockdown, which could be a move to prevent people who are involved in the coup from fleeing the city.
A former North Korean official has said that Kim is no longer in control of the country and that members of North Korea’s Organisation and Guidance Department comprised of former Kim Jong Il officials have taken over, Vice News reports.
Kim Jong Un’s sister is now in control
Some say that Kim Jong Un’s 24-year-old sister, Kim Yo Jong, is now in control of North Korea, according to The Telegraph.
Kim’s younger sister has reportedly “taken up some of the key leadership positions” in North Korea and is Kim’s closest confidante. Some say she controls Kim’s schedule already. She attended the same boarding school in Switzerland as her older brother.
Kim Jong Un’s car reportedly hasn’t left Pyongyang since he vanished from public view, so it is likely he remains within the capital. Health problems seem to be the most likely explanation for Kim’s disappearance, but because of the North Korean regime’s extreme secrecy, no one outside of his circle knows for sure what’s going on.
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