Seoul, August 26: Amid reports claiming that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is either dead or in a state of coma, the Supreme Leader was shown by the state-run media holding a meeting with senior officials. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) released pictures on Wednesday showing Kim - who looked visibly fine - chairing an official meet.
The KCNA further reported that the meeting was called by him to "warn" the authorities against the threat of Typhoon Bavi, which is expected to make landfall within the next two days. The news agency also red-flagged the looming threat of COVID-19. Kim Jong-un Dead? North Korea Leader’s Sister Kim Yo-jong in Control of Key Unit of Workers' Party, Says South Korean Defense Minister.
The typhoon, which was expected to hit North Korea by Thursday evening, could affect around 10 million people. Scores of lives could be in danger as the storm is reported to be of "high-intensity". Pyongyang is expected to evacuate people residing in coastal and low-lying regions.
Apart from the loss of lives, the natural calamity is feared to wipe off acres of agricultural land. The typhoon comes days before the Autumn harvest season -- which is considered as the key period for North Korea to stock up its rice stock for the entire year.
The KCNA report of Kim discussing COVID-19 situation comes days after the agency quoted him as saying that North Korea is a "shining" example of success in the battle against coronavirus. The country had maintained that there were zero active cases.
'Fake Image' Shared by KCNA?
A section of netizens were questioning whether Pyongyang - where there is no free press - has shared "fake images" of the meeting chaired by Kim to quell speculations over his death.
Leading tabloids in the West, over the past few days, have claimed that the North Korean leader is in a state of coma and would be declared dead after the power is shifted to his sister Kim Yo-Jong. The basis for their claim was the social media post of a former South Korean diplomat.
“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,” Chang Song-min, ex-aide to late-South Korean president Kim Dae-Jung, had said.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Aug 26, 2020 06:11 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).