SEOUL, Sept. 30 (UPI) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s departure from the world stage for nearly a month has been traced to ankle surgery, a report said.
Kim fractured both ankles and had surgery in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, reported Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s largest newspaper, on Tuesday, citing an unnamed source.
He was seen limping at an event in July and missed a regular assembly meeting in August of the Supreme People’s Assembly.
Speculation ranged from a political coup to a stroke, or gout, which is hereditary in his family; Korean Central Television reported he was in “indisposed condition” and North Korean Central Television said he suffered from “discomfort” — both rare admissions by state news sources. Kim has not been seen in public since he attended a concert Sept. 3.
It was suggested this week on Weibo, China’s Twitter social media platform, that Kim was overthrown by Jo Myong Rok, a North Korean vice marshal who died four years ago, prompting a commentary in Global Times, a Chinese official newspaper, entitled, “For those who make up rumors of coup in North Korea, is it so funny?”