Amid Rumors About Kim’s Health, What Would North Korea Look Like Without Him?

People watch a news program about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, April 21, 2020 (AP photo by Lee Jin-man).
People watch a news program about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, April 21, 2020 (AP photo by Lee Jin-man).

Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Steven Metz is filling in for Candace Rondeaux this week. On April 15, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un failed to make his annual visit to Kumsusan Palace in Pyongyang to celebrate the birthday of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, who is interred there. In North Korea’s dynastic cult of personality, it was a shocking break from tradition, and sparked reports that Kim had undergone major heart surgery and might even be near death. The secretiveness of the North Korean regime always makes it difficult to know exactly what is going on inside the country or […]

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