Friday 23 February 2018

Mystery deepens over North Korea's Kim Jong-Un limp

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un

Foster Klug

SPECULATION has reached fever pitch over the fate of North Korea's authoritarian leader Kim Jong-Un.

An official documentary shows him limping and overweight and mentions his "discomfort." Maybe it's gout, unidentified sources tell South Korean reporters, or diabetes, or high blood pressure.

Yet another report says the Swiss-educated dictator inset, has been laid low by a massive cheese addiction. A headline in Seoul offers up the possibility of a common South Korean obsession: fried chicken and beer.

So what's going on? Maybe not much.

As is always the case, much more than what's seen publicly is happening behind the well-guarded scenes with North Korea's No. 1. But just the fact that Pyongyang acknowledges that Kim is ailing suggests that he may not be suffering from anything particularly serious. The hugely micromanaged state media, for instance, were tight-lipped when Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, suffered major health problems late in his rule.

The intense outside fascination with even scraps of information creates a scramble in South Korea and the West to play up any hint of change or turmoil in a country notorious for resisting outside prodding and for releasing information.

Irish Independent

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