South Korean officials claimed this week that Kim Jong-un has been in a coma for months as some suggest the leader could be replaced by his adviser and sister Kim Yo-jong. Former aid to the South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, Chang Song-min said this week: “I assess him to be in a coma, but his life has not ended. “A complete succession structure has not been formed, so Kim Yo-jong is being brought to the fore as the vacuum cannot be maintained for a prolonged period.” South Korea’s spy agency, the National Intelligence Service (NIS), reported last week that Kim will gradually transfer authority to his sister “to ease stress”, despite his young age. However, the North Korean leader appeared today at a party meeting, the third time this year he has emerged after a long withdrawal from public view.
Despite this, analysts have still warned of chaos in the country in recent months.
Harry Clynch, a former chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association, travelled through the country and warned the regime is “facing collapse”.
He also warned that resistance from within the country could become a factor.
He said in his column for CapX: “As Kim now openly admits, his country is on the precipice of economic collapse.
“It is out of necessity and an instinct for self-preservation that he is prepared to drop many of the principles that have defined the regime for the last seven decades.
“But whether the North Korean public accepts this could be another matter.”
In 2017, UN sanctions were passed in response to intercontinental ballistic missile tests the country had undertaken.
This piled on more economic pressure on a country already suffering from the dictatorial regime.
Even with the country’s almost closed borders, North Korea has also been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
North Korea’s Red Cross deployed 43,000 volunteers to help communities prevent coronavirus outbreaks this month amid fears the country had its first recorded case.
READ MORE: North Korea: Kim Yo-jong ‘will be worse dictator than Kim Jong-un’
In the same week, Pyongyang also claimed that it would send propaganda leaflets over its southern border, denouncing North Korean defectors and South Korea.
The demilitarised zone (DMZ) on the border between North Korea and its neighbours in the South was created by agreement between North Korea, China and the United Nations Command in 1953.
Kim Yo-jong attacked the South as “the enemy” and said Seoul would soon witness the collapse of a “useless” liaison office in the border town of Kaesong.
She continued: “By exercising my power authorised by the supreme leader, our party and the state, I gave an instruction to the arms of the department in charge of the affairs with the enemy to decisively carry out the next action.
“Our army, too, will determine something for cooling down our people’s resentment and surely carry it out, I believe.”