Kim Jong Un


AFP via Getty Images

TOPSHOT – This picture taken on July 4, 2017 and released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 5, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) celebrating the successful test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location. South Korea and the United States fired off missiles on July 5 simulating a precision strike against North Korea’s leadership, in response to a landmark ICBM test described by Kim Jong-Un as a gift to “American bastards”. / AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS / STR / South Korea OUT / REPUBLIC OF KOREA OUT —EDITORS NOTE— RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO/KCNA VIA KNS” – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS THIS PICTURE WAS MADE AVAILABLE BY A THIRD PARTY. AFP CAN NOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, LOCATION, DATE AND CONTENT OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PHOTO IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY AFP. / (Photo credit should read STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Jack Pittman, Copy Editor

Over the last few weeks, there have been many conflicting reports over the health of North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un. Many news outlets speculated that he had died or was about to die after he had heart surgery on April 12th. He has not been seen in public since April 11th, which led to the speculation along with many reports of unhealthy habits such as smoking and gaining weight. South Korean intelligence has downplayed such reports claiming that his absence has been due to quarantine procedures related to preventing an outbreak of COVID-19 in North Korea. North Korea has claimed to have no cases of COVID-19, and to have handled the pandemic perfectly, lending less credibility to this belief. North Korea has also given proof of life in the form of a diplomatic letter sent to South Africa on April 27th for South Africa’s Freedom Day. Despite this, he still has not made a public appearance. To add to the confusion, President Trump has hinted that he knows more than he is allowed to say: “I hope he’s fine, I do know how he’s doing, you’ll probably be hearing in the not too distant future.” 

Whether Kim Jong Un is dead, sick, or just in quarantine, the future of his succession remains in question.