Kim Jong-un's uncle is set to seize power following claims the dictator has been in a coma for months and pictures of him in public this year were faked, it has been reported.
The North Korea dictator has rarely been seen in public this year fuelling speculation he was ill following a “botched heart operation”.
Last week it was reported some of the 36-year-old's immense power had been handed over to his sister and a number of close aides.
Chang Song-min, a former aide to ex-South Korean president Kim Dae-jung, claimed his 33-year-old Kim Yo-jong will take over as North Korean leader.
But now, a source within the South’s intelligence service has claimed to NK News that Kim Jong-iI’s half brother, and Kim Jong-un’s uncle, will take over.
Kim Pyong-iI, 65, is the last known surviving son of the countries founder Kim II Sung – Kim Jong-un’s grandfather.
Chang said pictures of the dictator circulated in North Korean media were fakes and the dictator has actually been in a coma.
Speaking with local media, Chang Song-min said: “I assess him to be in a coma, but his life has not ended.”
And speaking about the bombshell power change last week, he said: “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.”
Rumours about the health if the tyrannical leader have swirled for months.
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One expert claimed it is only a matter of time before an official announcement is made over the dictator’s position.
Roy Calley, a journalist with a network of contacts in Pyongyang who has written a book on life inside the Hermit Kingdom, told the Express: "I honestly believe he's dead but you just can't tell with that country.
"I could be in Pyongyang now and be none the wiser."
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However, conflicting reports say Kim is still alive and issuing direct orders, such as the command to execute six people – including four party officials – for sexual offences.
They had been accused of either selling or buying sex at a public bathhouse popular among influential city residents and executed by a firing squad.
And pictures emerged on Thursday showing Kim attending a government meeting – yet news outlet Reuters said it could not “independently verify” the images as they were released by the secretive country.
Last week South Korea spies said the dictator will be gradually transferring authority to his younger sister to “ease his stress”.
Speculation the 36-year-old is in a "vegetative state" has been fuelled by his low profile so far this year.
Reports claim Kim shielded himself during the outbreak of Covid-19 and he was rarely seen in public.
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