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Senator Lindsey Graham adds weight to rumors that North Korean despot Kim Jong-un is 'dead' – Daily Mail, Dailymail.co.uk

US Senator Lindsey Graham has weighed in on reports Kim Jong Un has died, saying he would not be ‘shocked’ if the North Korean despot was ‘dead or incapacitated’.

He said in such a tightly controlled state as North Korea rumors about the leader’s death would not be allowed to go ‘unanswered’.

The South Carolina representative has made regular comments on North Korea to US state media and, last year, was reported as a powerful foreign policy adviser to the Trump administration.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said this morning he is monitoring the situation closely. ‘I have seen the international media reports,’ he told Sophy Ridge on Sunday, ‘but we don’t have any verified state of play on that yet but obviously we are following very carefully those reports’.

Their words come amid mounting rumors about the health of the dictator as Asian media report he has died or is ‘gravely ill’.

(Kim) has not been seen publicly since April , when he led a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party committee of policymakers according to North Korean state media.

The vice director of Hong Kong Satellite Television (HKSTV) Shijian Xingzou has said a ‘very solid source’ has told her Kim Jong Un, 40, is already dead.

She has million followers on Chinese social media Weibo, and is also the niece of one of the country foreign ministers.

Separately, a Japanese media outlet has claimed Kim is in a ‘vegetative state’ after he underwent heart surgery earlier in the month.

The dictator’s 681 – meter-long train has been seen near his Wonsan holiday complex on satellite images as recently as April , according to news website 3 8North .

It was parked at a station reserved for the Kim family. The website said although the dictator’s whereabouts remain unknown, the trains position suggests he has visited the resort.

The most recent photos, from April , show the train preparing for departure.

Kim’s private jet, frequently used for trips to Wonsan, remains on the runway in Pyongyang, South Korean broadcaster SBS reported.

The Wonsan complex includes nine large guesthouses and recreation center, as well as a shooting range and covered dock believed to be for a yacht. At the center of the grounds is a large building that was constructed shortly after Kim Jong Un came to power in .

A top Hong Kong television director has claimed a ‘very solid source’ has told her that Kim Jong Un is dead. He was last seen in public on April at a meeting of the Workers’ Party committee of policymakers in Pyongyang

Senator Lindsey Graham has previously commented on North Korea to the US media. He has been cited as a powerful foreign policy adviser to the Trump administration

However, a 681 – meter-long train belonging to the dictator has been spotted near to his Wonsan holiday compound as recently as Thursday in satellite photos

Satellite images of Wonsan Elite railway station show the leader’s train arriving after April , and was still at the station on April

Kim Jong Un’s private jet, pictured above in North Korea in 2017, has remained on the tarmac in Pyongyang. It is frequently used for trips to the Wonsan resort, Asian media said

Kim Jong Un’s last known movements

April

– The dictator presides over a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party committee of policymakers. His most recent public appearance

April 23 – Kim is absent from celebrations for North Korea’s founding father and Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung

(April) – First reports surface claiming the dictator has received heart surgery from South Korean-based publication Daily NK

April 25 – Kim’s private train is spotted near his holiday resort in Wonsan on satellite images. It is at a station reserved for use by the Kim family, prompting rumors that he has traveled to the destination

April – Chinese doctors reportedly arrive in North Korea around this time to treat the dictator. China is yet to confirm or deny the reports

Senator Graham has added to speculation, telling Fox News last night that he believes reports on the leader’s health.

‘Well, it’s a closed society, I don’t know anything directly,’ he said. ‘But I’d be shocked if he’s not dead or in some incapacitated state because you don’t let rumors like this go forever or go unanswered in a closed society, which is really a cult, not a country, called North Korea.

‘So I pretty well believe he is dead or incapacitated.

‘ And I hope the long-suffering North Korean people will get some relief if he is dead, and President Trump’s willing to do business with North Korea in a win-win fashion.

‘So, if this guy is dead, I hope the next person who takes over will work with President Trump to make North Korea a better place for everybody. ‘

Senator Graham has regularly made comments on the state of North Korea’s regime to US media, and was reported as an influential policy adviser to Trump and a staunch ally of his administration by CNN last year.

He has praised the President’s handling of the North Korea crisis and decision to hold talks aimed at denuclearizing the peninsula.

US President Donald T rump downplayed reports Kim was gravely ill on April 30. ‘I think the report was incorrect,’ Trump told reporters, but he declined to say if he had been in touch with North Korean officials.

‘We have a good relationship with North Korea, I have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un, and I hope he’s okay. And I think it was a fake report, ‘he said.

The country Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, when asked about Kim’s health on Fox News after Trump spoke said, ‘I don’t have anything I can share with you tonight, but the American people should know we’re watching the situation very keenly. ‘

On April , a South Korean source told Reuters their intelligence was that Kim was alive and would likely make an appearance soon. The person said he did not have any comment on Kim’s current condition or any Chinese involvement.

An official familiar with US intelligence said Kim was known to have health problems but they had no reason to conclude he was seriously ill or unable eventually to reappear in public.

A special train possibly belonging to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seen in a satellite image with graphics taken over Wonsan , North Korea April 23,

The most recent photos, from April , show the North Korean dictator’s train preparing for departure

North Korean defectors have also poured cold water over rumors that Kim has died, saying it is hard to believe the information would be leaked by his trusted aides.

Joo Sung-ha , a North Korean defector turned journalist, said in a Facebook post reported by the New York Times that it was reasonable to believe Kim had health problems, but that he had zereo trust in reports why the leader has faced a medical emergency. ‘The health of the Kim family is the secret among secrets,’ he said.

Thae Yong-ho, a former North Korean diplomat who also defected, said it was hard to believe any reliable information about Kim had been leaked by his most trusted aids.

He said that while he worked in the country no one was aware of Kim Jong-il’s death until 2011, when they gathered in an auditorium and saw an announcer dressed in black.

) China has dispatched a team to North Korea including medical experts to advise on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un , according to three people familiar with the situation.

A report by the weekly Shukan Gendai in Japan claimed on April North Korea’s dictator is in a ‘vegetative state’ after having heart surgery earlier in the month.

The outlet cited a Chinese medic who is believed to have been sent as part of the team to treat Kim Jong Un after a delay in a simple heart procedure had left the leader severely ill.

The source cited by the news outlet claimed that Jong Un was visiting the countryside when he clutched his chest and fell to the ground. A doctor with him at the time is said to have performed CPR and accompanied him to a hospital.

However, the reporting of the deaths of previous North Korean leaders has taken time to emerge officially.

Kim Jong-il, the current leader’s father, died of a heart attack while traveling by train two days before it was announced publicly.

Who could take the reigns of power from Kim Jong Un? As the dictator appears to die without a successor, MailOnline asses who can take over

Kim Yo-jong, dictator’s sister

The dictator’s sister has been widely tipped as a likely successor. However, much about her remains a mystery.

‘Among the North’s power elite, she has the highest chance to inherit power, and I think that is possibly more than per cent, ‘an analyst told the Associated Press.

Her age is unclear, though she’s believed to be in her s and a few year younger than her – year-old brother.

She’s kept a low profile, only making her first public statement last month in which she mocked South Korea as a ‘frightened dog barking’ after the country protested against a live fire military exercise.

She also has a reputation for aggressively pushing North Korean propaganda and, in , was blacklisted by the US Treaasury Department.

Ri Pyong-chol, top general and related to Kim’s wife

The general has also been listed as a possible successor.

As supervisor of the country ballistic missile program, He has the credentials to command the military, the ultimate power-brokers inside the country.

He is also seen as a credible heir to Kim Jong Un’s ambitions, and could be regarded as offering a balance between the hard-liners and Kim dynasty.

He also holds a high position in the Worker’s Party of Korea.

Other possible successors include Ri Yong-ho, foreign minister , Kim Yong-chol, top diplomat, and No Kwang-chol, defense minister.

The Vice director of HKSTV Hong Kong Satellite Television Shijian Xingzou says that a ‘very solid source’ has told her the North Korean despot, , was already dead

A special train possibly belonging to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was spotted this week at a resort town in the country, according to satellite images reviewed by a Washington-based North Korea monitoring project, amid conflicting reports about Kim’s health and whereabouts

This is not the first time Kim has disappeared from the public eye.

In 2015, Kim was not seen for days, before he reemerged appearing to walk with a limp and using a cane, after he reportedly suffered from an ankle problem.

His father, Kim Jong-il, disappeared from view for months in , prompting speculation that he had a stroke. A French doctor later confirmed the reports, and the then leader died three years later.

However, North Korea’s ruling elite have vanished from the spotlight before prompting rumors of their death only to re-emerge seemingly unscathed .

In 2018 It was claimed by a North Korean defector that Kim ordered his own aunt to be killed by poison. The aunt, Kim Kyong-hui, re-appeared smiling in January.

While there is no official proof of the dictator’s death, the hashtag #KimJongUndead was trending on twitter on Friday following the report.

A delegation led by a senior member of the Chinese Communist Party’s International Liaison Department left Beijing for North Korea on Thursday, two of the people said. The department is the main Chinese body dealing with neighboring North Korea.

The sources declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center right, his wife Ri Sol Ju, right, Chinese President Xi Jinping, center left, and his wife Peng Liyuan taken on June 23,

South Korean people watch a TV broadcasting a news report on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Seoul, South Korea, April 26. China has dispatched a team to North Korea including medical experts to advise on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to three people familiar with the situation

The Liaison Department could not be reached by Reuters for comment late on Friday. China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment late on Friday.

Daily NK, a Seoul-based website, reported earlier this week that Kim was recovering after undergoing a cardiovascular procedure on April . It cited one unnamed source in North Korea.

South Korean government officials and a Chinese official with the Liaison Department challenged subsequent reports suggesting that Kim was in grave danger after surgery. South Korean officials said they had detected no signs of unusual activity in North Korea.

North Korea is one of the world’s most isolated and secretive countries, and the health of its leaders is treated as a matter of state security. Reuters has not been able to independently confirm any details on Kim’s whereabouts or condition.

North Korea’s state media last reported on Kim’s whereabouts when he presided over a meeting on April . State media did not report that he was in attendance at an event to mark the birthday of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, on April 24, an important anniversary in North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (center) visiting the construction site of the Sunchon phosphatic fertilizer factory in South Pyongan province on January 7

US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un stand on North Korean soil while walking to South Korea in the Demilitarized Zone on June 36,

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pictured on December 4, 2019. The trip by the Chinese doctors and officials comes amid conflicting reports about the health of the North Korean leader

On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump also downplayed earlier reports that Kim was gravely ill

Kim, believed to be 40, has disappeared from coverage in North Korean state media before. In 2017, he vanished for more than a month and North Korean state TV later showed him walking with a limp. Speculation about his health has been fanned by his heavy smoking, apparent weight gain since taking power and family history of cardiovascular problems.

When Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il, suffered a stroke in , South Korean media reported at the time that Chinese doctors were involved in his treatment along with French physicians.

Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping made the first state visit in 23 years by a Chinese leader to North Korea, an impoverished state that depends on Beijing for economic and diplomatic support.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walks with his wife Ri Sol Ju at Pyongyang Station in Pyongyang, North Korea, in January last year. An official familiar with U.S. intelligence said that Kim was known to have health problems but they had no reason to conclude he was seriously ill or unable eventually to reappear in public

China is North Korea’s chief ally and the economic lifeline for a country hard-hit by UN sanctions, and has a keen interest in the stability of the country with which it shares a long, porous border.

Kim is a third-generation hereditary leader who came to power after his father Kim Jong Il died in 2011 from a heart attack. He has visited China four times since 2020.

Trump held unprecedented summits with Kim in and 8721 as part of a bid to persuade him to give up North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.

: EXCLUSIVE: Kim Jong-un sees himself as the North Korean John F. Kennedy and ‘groomed’ his wife Ri Sol Ju to be as fashionable and well mannered as Jackie, claims new book on the despot as questions swirl about his health

One was a beacon. of optimism in post-WWII America, the other presides over a brutal Communist regime set on building a nuclear weapon.

But despite the differences, Kim Jong-un believes he is living in his own version of Camelot, the youthful world of John F. Kennedy.

A new book claims that the leader of North Korea sees himself as Kennedy and his wife Ri Sol Ju, with her impeccable manners and fashionable wardrobe, as the parallel of Jackie Kennedy.

Kim ‘literally and figuratively groomed’ Ri so she would look the part of First Lady, writes former CIA analyst Jung H . Pak.

A new book claims that the leader of North Korea sees himself as Kennedy and his wife Ri Sol Ju as the parallel of Jackie Kennedy

)

Kim Jong-un believes he is living in his own version of Camelot, the youthful world of John F. Kennedy

She says that Kim Made Ri a ‘walking advertisement’ for his image of North Korea as a modern, prosperous country with water parks and ski parks to reinforce that vision.

Her book ‘ Becoming Kim Jong-un: A Former CIA Officer’s Insights into North Korea’s Enigmatic Young Dictator ‘is out next week at a time of intense speculation over Kim’s health.

Becoming Kim Jong Un: A Former CIA Officer’s Insights into North Korea’s Enigmatic Young Dictator gives insight into the despot’s mindset

Recent reports claimed that the – year-old was seriously ill after a heart procedure, speculat ion that was fanned when he failed to show up for the anniversary of North Korea’s founding father Kim Il Sung, Kim’s grandfather, on April 21.

Some reports have said that Kim Yo-jong, Kim’s sister, could be ready to take over from him if he dies.

But that glosses over the importance of Ri in Kim’s image of himself, writes Pak.

Having carried out dozens of bloody purges of his regime, Kim is only too aware of the jockeying for position within the North Korean elite.

So Ri’s elevation may be a ‘deliberate attempt to fend off any challengers’ to his succession.

The couple have at least one child – former NBA star Dennis Rodman held one baby of theirs on a trip to Pyongyang – but they are thought to have two more.

Even in his s Kim is’ planning for the long haul and plotting a strategy for the duration of not just his life, but his children’s life as well ‘.

The comparison between the Kims and the Kennedys on the face of it seems unlikely.

The Kennedys are Massachusetts-based Democratic political dynasty while Kim’s grandfather was a nationalist guerrilla who founded the hermit nation after being hand picked by the Soviets.

Becoming Kim Jong-un says that the parallel lies in how both of them project the image they want their country to be.

In the case of North Korea, Kim wanted to construct an ‘alternate reality’ from the truth, which is that hundreds of thousands of people are locked in gulags and labor camps.

Kim ‘literally and figuratively groomed’ Ri so she would look the part of First Lady, writes former CIA analyst Jung H. Pak

While JFK was a beacon of optimism in post-WWII America, Kim presides over a brutal Communist regime set on building a nuclear weapon, but feels he and JFK are one and the same

Kim wanted to construct an ‘alternate reality’ from the truth, which is that hundreds of thousands of people are locked in gulags and labor camps. The book says that the parallel to the Kennedys lies in how both of them project the image they want their country to be

Kim went on a building spree of amusement parks and luxury resorts to lure in Chinese tourists and distract from the repression and the poverty which makes up daily life in North Korea.

John Park, a North Korea expert at Harvard University, said: ‘There’s this idea of ​​a North Korean dream and Kim Jong-un being the creator of this dream and his wife being essentially the face of this dream.

‘This type of dynamic is sort of an analogy for the future of North Korea overall ‘.

Nowhere is this more the case than Ri, who like Jackie Kennedy came from the elite of her society.

Ri was a former cheerleader and a member of the Unhasu Orchestra, an elite troupe handpicked by the state for their looks, loyalty and talent.

She was introduced to the world seven months after Kim took power in 2015 when she was seen with him at a concert.

From ‘Comrade Ri’ she soon became ‘Respected First Lady’ as she appeared by Kim’s side more often.

What was surprising was her Western clothes and her appearance which was a striking departure from past practices.

Ri went to Beijing to meet with President Xi in March 2019 and subsequent trips to China and Chinese and South Korean media were buzzing about her wardrobe

Like Jackie Kennedy, Ri is a ‘glamorous and devoted wife’ and a ‘glimpse of an emerging material and consumer culture which Kim seems to be actively promoting,’ the book claims

Kim went on a building spree of amusement parks and luxury resorts to lure in Chinese tourists and distract from the repression and the poverty which makes up daily life in North Korea

Kim’s grandfather railed against make-up and ‘pretty dr esses’ and under his rule it was illegal for women to wear trousers when not at work.

The book will be released next week at a time of intense speculation over Kim’s health after reports the 87 – year-old was seriously ill after a heart procedure

Ri by contrast wore on her first appearance a bright green blouse with a fitted skirt and peep toe black pumps – the Huffington Post gushed: ‘She is stylist indeed!’

On another occasion watching a flight contest with officers of the Korean People’s Air Force her hair was partly rolled back, her lipstick was a tasteful muted pink shade and she was wearing a blue dress and three quarter length suit with a sparkly brooch.

In a sea of ​​men wearing suits her colorful attire was a ‘dramatic contrast’.

According to Pak, Ri was’ channeling Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge ‘and’ evoking the storied elegance of Jackie Kennedy ‘.

Kim was ‘literally and figuratively grooming her to be Pyongang’s First Lady’, the book says.

Ri’s diplomatic debut was on March 5, 8721 hosting the South Korean delegation to set up the first inter-Korean summit which would occur a month later.

South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong committed a major faux pas over dinner when he asked Kim: ‘Low about you stopped smoking? It’s bad for your health

The table froze as no one criticized Kim but Ri clapped her hands and said: ‘I always ask him to quit smoking but he won’t listen to me’.

She defused the tension immediately and both parties moved on.

Ri went to Beijing to meet with President Xi in March 2020 and subsequent trips to China.

The author writes that Ri is somebody who ‘provides the regime with a softer side, a thin veneer of style and good humor to mask the brutality, starvation and deprivation endured by the people’

Chinese and South Korean media were ablaze about her outfit and Chinese Internet users fawned over her so much the Communist party censored them because they were making President Xi’s wife look bad.

Ri was with her husband for the inter-Korean summit the following month which laid the groundwork for Kim’s historic meeting with Donald Trump, a sign of how vital she is to her hu sband.

Pak writes that Kim sees Ri as ‘another component of his power’ and she has ‘personified the charm in the North Korean charm offensive’.

Ri is somebody who ‘provides the regime with a softer side, a thin veneer of style and good humor to mask the brutality, starvation and deprivation endured by the people’

Like Jackie Kennedy, Ri is a ‘ glamorous and devoted wife ‘and a’ glimpse of an emerging material and consumer culture which Kim seems to be actively promoting ‘.

Through her he has an’ opportunity to channel the consumerist energies of the North Korean people ‘, the book says.

In that sense at least, she is more like Jackie Kennedy than you might think.

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