North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un 'not dead, ‘hiding from coronavirus’
Kim Jong Un

Following days of speculation about the whereabouts of North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, which has fuelled reports of his death, South Korea’s minister for North Korean affairs Kim Yeon-chul has claimed that the North Korean dictator isn’t dead, but may be in hiding because he’s fearful about coronavirus.

The Unification Minister, who oversees North Korea engagement, told a parliamentary hearing: “It is true that he had never missed the anniversary for Kim II Sung’s birthday since he took power, but many anniversary events including celebrations and a banquet had been cancelled because of coronavirus concerns.”

The minister said it is not unusual for Kim to vanish for weeks at a time – saying there were at least two instances since mid-January where he was out of sight for nearly 20 days.

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“I don’t think that’s particularly unusual given the current (coronavirus) situation,” he said.

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North Korea claims it has no confirmed coronavirus cases, but has taken steps to prepare for an outbreak.

North Korea has cancelled some large events, and imposed a border lockdown and quarantine measures in an effort to prevent an outbreak.

If Kim Jong-Un is hiding out due to fears surrounding Covid-19, it would “puncture a hole in the state media narrative of how this crisis has been perfectly managed”, said Chad O’Carroll, CEO of Korea Risk Group, which monitors North Korea.

Kim Jong-un has not been seen since April 11, and missed one of the country’s biggest annual celebrations four days later – an absence which has been described as “unprecedented”.

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