World

Rumors About Kim Jong-Un Feature Coups, House Arrest, Cheese

Rumors of what's going on inside North Korea have only increased as the nation's leader, Kim Jong-un, remains mysteriously absent from the public eye.

Rumors About Kim Jong-Un Feature Coups, House Arrest, Cheese
Getty Images / Feng Li
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For anyone watching the reclusive nation of North Korea over the past four weeks, there's been one big question: 

MSNBC"Where is Kim Jong-un?"

CNN: "Where is Kim Jong-un?"

AL JAZEERA"Where in the world is the leader of North Korea?"

The last time Kim was seen in public was Sept. 3, when he was reportedly seen walking with a limp. 

It wasn't until a few weeks later that state media ran a documentary showing Kim with a limp and saying he was "suffering discomfort."

Since then, Western media has kind of been all over the place with speculation on what the statement meant and whether there's some sort of hidden meaning to glean from Kim's ongoing absence. 

Theories range from a possible coup, ending the Kim dynasty's 66-year-long reign, to the possibility that Kim broke both his ankles from eating too much Swiss cheese and wearing Cuban heels. Seriously. 

ABC Australia ran with the theory that the supreme leader is under some sort of dictator version of house arrest.

The latest rumor is that Kim's younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, is running the show now. That's according to the North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, a think tank made up of North Korean defectors. 

But with all of these rumors flying around, the most common explanation might also be the most likely — that Kim is simply ill. 

A professor told Time recent diplomatic and administrative decisions by the nation such as sending a delegation to South Korea or reshuffling its leadership are both signs that Kim is still in power. 

"If there had been regicide or revolt in Pyongyang, it's unlikely the wheels of North Korean diplomacy would spin like business as usual. Precisely because we have fewer sources of reliable, direct information about North Korea, it pays not to rush to judgment."

Even so, this probably isn't the end of speculation. With North Korea's 69th anniversary coming up this Friday, The Washington Post warns the rumor mill could get even worse if Kim is absent. 

This video includes an image from Getty Images and music from Broke For Free / CC BY NC 3.0