Young North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s health is just fine, his government said Thursday evening, so his sister is probably not running the country. It was said Kim Yo Jong had taken over while her brother underwent medical treatment, but So Se Pyong, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, told Reuters Kim was not in bad health.
The ambassador sat down for an interview where he discussed a variety of matters, including North Korea's nuclear program, possibly negotiations to free three detained Americans and, of course, Kim’s health.
It has been rumored Kim, 31, might have had ankle surgery, but So said that is incorrect. The story emerged after Kim did not appear at the Supreme People's Assembly last month and reports said he suffered from "discomfort.” He was also seen walking with a limp in July. "That is rumors, fabricated rumors," So said about Kim's alleged ailment.
Questions about Kim’s health rose after an article from the Diplomat, a magazine based in Tokyo, claimed his sister was making important government decisions while Kim was being treated at Bonghwa Clinic in North Korea's capital Pyongyang.
"Some say Hwang Byong So, director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army, may have assumed new No. 2 status, but given what has been confirmed this time, we can say Hwang is just a shadow, and Kim Yo Jong is the second-in-command of North Korea," Kim Heung Gwang, the head of North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, reportedly said.
Even if So denies any health problems, Kim has not been seen by his people since Sept. 3. The leader also gained a significant amount of weight, which could contribute to ailments like gout, diabetes or high blood pressure, sources told the Associated Press. If he were suffering from gout, his cheese eating and smoking would worsen the condition.
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