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Tags: NKorea | Kim | coup

Missing NKorea's Kim May Have Been Toppled in Coup

Monday, 06 October 2014 12:07 PM EDT

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, who has not been seen in public for a month, is at the center of growing speculation that he’s been deposed.

And the rumors may be fueled on Friday when Kim would be expected to be on the reviewing stand for the celebrations centered on the founding of the country’s Workers’ Party.

“Until then, we can say there are signs that Kim Jong Un has lost substantial power and will soon become, if he is not already, a figurehead,” writes Gordon Chang of The Daily Beast.

The mystery surrounding Kim’s whereabouts gathered momentum over the weekend after the communist regime’s second in command, Hwang Pyong So, suddenly traveled to South Korea for peace talks with the North’s longtime enemy, the Beast reports.

Hwang was given the title of vice chairman of the National Defense Commission during a recent meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly in addition to his recent promotion to director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army, making him the top political officer in the military.

In a country where there’s not supposed to be an official number two position, Hwang is being called the second-most powerful person, according to  the Beast.

On 24 hours’ notice, Hwang led Pyongyang’s most senior delegation ever to Incheon near the South Korea capital of Seoul in talks at aimed resuming relations between the two republics.

His surprise trip with an 11-member delegation from Pyongyang came as a report surfaced saying that Kim has been deposed in a possible coup.

Jang Jin Sung, a former North Korean propaganda official, has claimed that the Organization and Guidance Department of the Korean Workers’ Party, which has control over major positions in the North’s leadership, has taken over the country, while Kim is now just a “puppet,” according to Vice News.

Kim, 31, who is frequently the centerpiece of the isolated country's propaganda, has not been photographed by state media since appearing at a concert alongside wife Ri Sol Ju on Sept. 3.

The eccentric leader had been seen walking with a limp, reportedly due to gout, in a pre-recorded documentary broadcast by state media in late September.

But during the weekend delegation to South Korea, a senior official of the North's ruling Workers' Party, told the South's Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae that there was no problem with Kim's health.

However, the Beast’s Chang wrote, “Indeed, there are signs that not only has Hwang risen, but also that Kim has fallen. The young ruler did not preside over last’s month meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the first time that has happened since he took power after his father’s death in December 2011.

“Yes, he may have been ill, but if he was politically healthy, the meeting would have been postponed until he was able to appear.”

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North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, who has not been seen in public for a month, is at the center of growing speculation that he's been deposed.
NKorea, Kim, coup
Monday, 06 October 2014 12:07 PM
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