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Kim Jong Un rumoured to be dead. Who would be the next in line?

Is Kim Jong Un, dead or alive?

The news was released after a photo was published of a young man, who appears to be the North Korean dictator, lying and covered in a red cloth with his eyes closed.

A Hong Kong broadcast network claimed Saturday that Kim died, citing a “very solid source.” A Japanese magazine, meanwhile, reported late Friday that he is in “a vegetative state.” On Kim’s home turf, the North Korean media has acted as if everything is perfectly normal.

Other unconfirmed reports, attributed to senior Community Party sources in Beijing, claimed Kim succumbed when his surgeon botched the minor operation because his hands were shaking so badly.

The portly leader’s absence from Saturday’s much-ballyhooed 88th anniversary of the birth of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army further fueled the death talk.

Day by day, more and more confirmations, and more and more credible, about the death of Kim Jong-un. Now to relaunch the news of his death, TMZ also thinks, the American portal that in recent times was the first to report the death of Kobe Bryant. “According to media reports in China and Japan, the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, has died or is on his deathbed with no chance of recovery.”

Finally, it was learned that China had sent a delegation led by a senior official of the Communist Party’s International Liaison Department to Pyongyang to verify contradictory rumors about Kim’s health. In short, it seems that the communal regime does not know how to communicate in an official way what is happening, probably because of the knot relating to the succession and for the struggles for power that will be taking place at the moment.

And now, what happens? If Kim Jong-un is really dead, who will be the next dictator of North Korea? We should analyze, first of all, the succession issue. Pyongyang is a hereditary dictatorship and the sister of Kim Jong-Un, Kim Yo-jong, would have the blood credentials, as a descendant of the so-called lineage of Mount Paektu. But it is not all so obvious: it is necessary to understand the possible reaction of the regime’s gerontocracy, the one made up of Kim’s uncles and cousins. The point is that Kim Yo-jong is a woman: can the regime tolerate her?

These are important passages that have also affected her recently, such as the reintegration among non-permanent members of the Politburo, and she made statements on her behalf for the first time when she commented on Trump’s statements about a letter last month sent by Kim.

The succession, in addition to the internal implications, has obvious international consequences. Pyongyang is in fact a nuclear power, and Donald Trump had started a contact, a thaw plan with Kim-Jong un, even if at the moment no agreements had been made on atomic and missile tests. And if the dictator died, what will his successor do? Educated in a Swiss college (just like Kim), the leader’s sister may not be appreciated by the circle of power also because it could be the bearer of the hypothesis with which China, at the death of Kim Jong-il, assumed economic reforms for take away part of the rigidity of the country?

In short, the future of North Korea, so far, appears to be a great, enormous unknown.

By: Domenico Greco

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