Kim Jong Un was finally seen in public for the first time after a few weeks, ending speculation about his health. The leader of North Korea had remained away from the public eye for weeks, missing a key national holiday celebrating the birthday of his grandfather, the founder of the regime.
As a result, there was growing speculation online that he was gravely ill or dead, something that raised tensions about what would happen in the isolated and secretive country.
The supposed death of Kim Jong Un would no doubt be a huge event and you’d expect that something like that would get the attention of the media globally.
Nonetheless, it seems for now the speculation about Kim’s health and death is over. The leader of the “Hermit Kingdom” made an appearance during the grand opening of a fertilizer plant in Pyongyang last month.
Although the leader’s family has been accused of running a murderous and dictatorial regime, they are credited for maintaining a semblance of stability in the country. The family has ruled North Korea for decades now.
It also has very close ties to communist China, something many experts argue has been crucial in keeping it in power. North Korea has also been embroiled in tensions and confrontations with the west, and its immediate neighbor South Korea, which has received military backing from the United States.
Kim’s missile program, in particular, has been a huge concern for western countries and their Asian allies such as Japan. As a result, North Korea has endured years of biting economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation, making it one of the poorest countries in the world. Despite these economic and political challenges, the Kim family has remained steadfast in power, prioritizing military spending and defense.
Kim Jong Un famously met with US President Donald Trump in Singapore too in what was a historical diplomatic move for the White House. During the meeting, Kim Jong Un and Trump agreed in principle to begin the decommissioning of North Korea’s missile program in exchange for lifting sanctions.
So far, it seems that this start has run into many challenges although Trump still maintains that he has a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un. The US President even tweeted shortly after Kim’s appearance that he was “glad to see” the North Korean leader “back and healthy.”
It’s not the first-time western media have wrongly reported information about North Korea or run into unfounded speculations about what’s going on in the country. However, this is probably understandable seeing that it is such a closed and secretive country that getting any meaningful information without the authorization of the state is impossible.