Chang Song-min, former aide to South Korea’s late president Kim Dae-jung, said the North Korean leader’s powers were now being transferred to his sister. He claimed to have received the information from a source in China. He told South Korean media: ‘I assess him to be in a coma, but his life has not ended. A complete succession structure has not been formed, so Kim Yo-jong is being brought to the fore as the vacuum cannot be maintained for a prolonged period.’
Earlier this week the National Intelligence Service (NIS) reported that Kim would gradually transfer authority to his sister to ease his stress and ‘avert culpability in the event of policy failure’. However, the South Korean agency noted that Kim would still ‘exert absolute power’.
In a closed door briefing, Ha Tae-keung, a South Korean MP, said the bottom line was ‘that Kim Jong-un still holds absolute power but has turned over a bit more of his authority compared to the past’. He added: ‘Kim Yo-jong is the de facto second-in-command.’
Kim’s absence from public appearances this year fuelled speculation that he had either died or become seriously ill as a result of a heart surgery going wrong. However, the rumours were later proved to be false when he appeared at the opening of a fertiliser factory in the north of the capital, Pyongyang. Some experts say the end of Kim’s leadership will spell disaster for the people of North Korea. Speaking to the Express, writer Chris Mikul said that ‘while no one likes to see the continued success of a brutal dictator’, Kim’s death would ‘not necessarily be a good thing for the world’.
The author of ‘My favourite Dictators’ continued: ‘It’s probably better to have Kim Jong-un ruling, which is horrible to say but it appears that the economy is better under him than it has been, or at least as good as it’s ever been under any of the Kims. ‘That said, we don’t know what is happening out in the countryside and how many people are still going hungry.’ He added: ‘Once this regime falls everything they have believed in since they were born will dissolve, it will be horrendous.’
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