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Earlier this year, rumours surfaced Kim was gravely ill or dead after he vanished from the public eye, which many speculating he had succumb to the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
During his absence, his sister, Kim Yo-jong, was widely tipped to take over command of North Korea after she stepped up during his absence.
But her current whereabouts are unknown and it has emerged Kim Yo-jong has been missing for more than a month.
According to reports, rumours resurfaced claiming Kim Jong-un was in a coma and power was about to pass to her.
But pictures of the dictator began circulating showing him fit and well.
He chaired meetings last week and was photographed inspecting typhoon ravaged fields.
However, his sister has not been seen in public since July 27, amid fears she has been executed by her own brother, who is famed for getting rid of his rivals.
North Korea expert Professor Nam Sung-wook, from Korea University, believes Kim Yo-jong’s increasing profile could be her undoing.
He told The Chosun Ilbo: “In the past, anyone was deprived of their position the moment they were described as the number two person in the North.
“There must be a semblance of checks and balances, although Kim Yo-jong is a family member.”
Professor Nam went on to say it is possible Kim Yo-jong stepped back from the corridors of power of her own accord.
Kim Yo-jong has been seen at international events over recent years and assisted her brother during the 2018 peace summit in Singapore.
In the same year, she was the highest ranking North Korean official to travel to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
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Sung-Yoon Lee, a professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, said Kim Jong-un’s sister was being groomed for power.
He told the New York Post: “The way for her to build up her credibility and net worth, that is, the way for her to get respect, is not to play nice but be a cruel dictator to her people and a credible nuclear threat to the US.
“She may prove herself fiercer and more tyrannical than her brother, father or grandfather.”
However, her brother is notorious for executing anyone he perceives as a threat. He executed the highly-regarded official and his dad’s son-in-law, Jang Song-thaek.
Jang was reportedly described as North Korea’s de-factor leader when Kim’s father was dying.
However, he disappeared in 2013 and an official statement from the regime described him as “worse than a dog” who wanted to grab “the supreme power by the most cunning and sinister means”.
Although not confirmed, it was reported that Jang’s family met the same fate after the Supreme leader began to clamp down on his rivals.
In June, reports said Kim Yo-jong will have no chance of taking over the reins as North Korea’s leader, as the country would perceive her takeover an “insult” to democracy.
A source previously told North Korean online newspaper Daily NK: “Kim Yo-jong essentially has no chance of taking over the reins given that she is not considered a ‘real’ successor to Kim Jong-un.
“If Kim Yo-jong gained power, this would be an insult to the people (in other words, the people would not accept her taking over power).”
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