A North Korean defector has said that he is ’99 per cent sure’ that the country’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un died after surgery.
Ji Seong-ho, a defector-turned-South Korea lawmaker said on Friday that Pyongyang is likely going to announce Kim’s death this weekend.
He told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency that he had been ‘informed that Kim died last weekend’ after cardiovascular surgery.
‘I’ve wondered how long he could have endured after cardiovascular surgery. I’ve been informed that Kim died last weekend,’ he said.
‘It is not 100 per cent certain, but I can say the possibility is 99 per cent. North Korea is believed to be grappling with a complicated succession issue.’
Ji Seong-ho said Kim’s sister Kim Yo-jong, who was named an alternate member of the ruling Workers’ Party’s powerful Central Committee Politburo last month, was in line to succeed her brother but added that the secretive state was ‘grappling with a complicated succession issue’.
Kim Jong Un has not been seen in public since April 11 and failed to attend an event that honored his grandfather, Kim Il Sung on April 15, sparking speculation about his health.
Several reports said he underwent a life-saving heart surgery, which either wasn’t done rapidly enough, or it was botched completely by the surgeon.
Chiu Kuo-cheng, the director of Taiwan’s National Security Bureau, spoke vaguely about Kim at a government hearing Thursday, saying that the North Korean leader is “sick” and his country has emergency plans for a potential power struggle if he dies.