NewsMax on October 7, 2014, reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, who has not been seen in public for more than a month, is believed to be staying outside Pyongyang, South Korea’s defence chief said. Excerpts below:
“As far as I know, (Kim) is staying at a certain place north of Pyongyang,” Defence Minister Han Min-Koo said when lawmakers visited his office for a regular parliamentary inspection of military affairs, without elaborating on Kim’s whereabouts.
“I have received reliable information from our defense intelligence headquarters,” Han was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency. There was no official comment from the defence ministry.
Kim’s absence from the public eye has triggered speculation of a debilitating illness and even rumours of a coup in Pyongyang.
His unexplained absence loomed large over a surprise visit on October 4 by a trio of his top officials and close aides to South Korea.
Before Kim dropped out of sight, footage shown on state TV had shown him walking with a pronounced limp.
Kim, believed to be 30 or 31, is a heavy smoker and has noticeably gained weight since taking over as paramount leader following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in 2011.