UPDATED 5:12 PM PT — Saturday, April 25, 2020
North Korea may soon see its first female leader following reports on the faltering health of Kim Jong Un, who allegedly remains in a “vegetative state” after a failed medical procedure. According to new reports, the 36-year-old is “gravely ill” due to complications that arose during a recent heart surgery.
A slew of Chinese doctors were brought in for the cardiovascular procedure to place stents in his arteries. Unnamed sources claimed the surgeon’s hands were badly shaking. North Korean officials have yet to confirm any of these reports.
The whereabouts of North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un are still unknown, but he was said to be in one of his luxury resorts. His last confirmed public appearance was on April 11th, when he attended a Politburo meeting.
Speculation over his health arose after he didn’t attend the 88th anniversary of the country’s armed forces, one of the regime’s most anticipated events.
When questioned by a reporter earlier this week, President Trump said he hopes the reports are incorrect.
“I’ve had a very good relationship with him,” added the president. “I wish him well.”
#WATCH: Pres. Trump on Kim Jong Un: “I wish him very, ya know, good luck…They came out with very serious medical reports; nobody’s confirmed that…When CNN comes out with a report, I don’t put much credence in it.” pic.twitter.com/sQsORCZ67N
— Bobby Dupree (@bobbydupree) April 21, 2020
Meanwhile, White House intelligence has been looking into these new reports. On Saturday, the press secretary confirmed administration officials are aware of the ongoing situation.
“We’re definitely aware of those reports, the intelligence community is looking very closely at that,” stated Kayleigh McEnany. “We don’t have any updates on that at this time.”
With no formal plans to take over Kim Jong Un’s role, his sister Kim Yo Jong could be next in line to rule the country. She is reportedly “feared” and “respected” by residents in her position as the number two official behind her brother.
Yo Jong also recently began speaking out publicly on key policy issues and has advised her brother on matters worth his attention.
With Kim’s only other heir being his 10-year-old son, his sister appears to be the most likely candidate to take over in the event of Kim Jong Un’s death.