After a video claiming North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has died began circulating in the area of North Korea bordering China, North Korean authorities are intensifying efforts to identify how the video entered the country, Daily NK has learned.
“The video in question looks like it was broadcast by Korean Central Television [KCTV] and entered the country through China,” a North Pyongan Province-based source told Daily NK on Monday. “The video claims that Kim suddenly died during on-the-spot guidance [on-the-spot inspections].”
A “BEWILDERING” VIDEO
The video, which is around five minutes long, shows the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in the background while a caption states that “Our Beloved Supreme Leader Comrade Kim Jong Un passed away during on-the-spot guidance.” The video claims that Kim Jong Un died during a guided field trip on Saturday (Apr. 25) at 12:30 AM, and that his sister Kim Yo Jong, the first deputy director of the North Korean communist party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department, would be succeeding him.
The video also included scenes from a past ceremony commemorating Kim Jong Il’s death along with the image of a non-existent article from the “The People’s Korea” – a pro-North Korean newspaper in Japan.
Daily NK sources reported that the video, despite its lack of authenticity, is spreading quickly in North Korea.
The authorities have quickly moved to identify the leaker or leakers of the video because they think it could cause a “social issue,” one source said, adding, “The Ministry of State Security and local police offices are keeping a close eye on those making international calls and text messages.”
“This video bewildered both ordinary citizens as well as party members and other officials when they first saw it,” one source told Daily NK. “After it was flagged as a serious issue, however, nobody has been able to openly discuss the video.”
“The authorities have created a special unit from the Organization and Guidance Department, the Public Prosecutors’ Office, the MSS and other law enforcement agencies, to identify the leaker,” the source continued.
“With the investigation intensifying, anyone who’s been making calls to China for business reasons has been lying low,” he added.
KIM STILL A NO SHOW
Since Kim Jong Un presided over a politburo meeting on Apr. 11, there have been a string of media reports on the health of North Korea’s leader, as well as rumors on social media saying that he is suffering from an illness and or has died.
North Korean state media continues to report on Kim Jong Un’s activities, but has failed to released any photos or videos to meaningfully contradict the suspicions circulating about his death.
Previously, when Kim failed to pay his respects at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun on Kim Il Sung’s birthday, rumors began about his ailing health and possible death.
Following an Apr. 20 Daily NK report that Kim had undergone a cardiovascular procedure on Apr. 12, American news broadcaster CNN reported on Apr. 21 that the US government was “monitoring intelligence that suggests North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, is in grave danger after undergoing a previous surgery.”
On Apr. 25, Reuters reported that China had “dispatched a team to North Korea including medical experts to advise on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un,” quoting three sources familiar with the situation.
*Translated by Violet Kim
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