November 29, 2023

Leadership, guns, and money in North Korea: what happens if Kim Jong Un goes

Despite claims to the contrary, the country has a formal process in place if the leader is no longer around

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un missed the country’s most important holiday on April 15 (Kim Il Sung’s birthday) and has not been seen in public since chairing a Politburo meeting on 11 April. Kim’s absence has triggered speculation that he might be ill or that he is avoiding crowds in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speculation intensified following a report by the Daily NK, a South Korean website, on 20 April that claimed Kim had undergone a cardiovascular procedure.