Reappearance of North Korea’s ‘Dearest Comrade’ Kim Jong-un leads to questions

The disappearance, and Impossibly quick reappearance of Kim Jong-un, explained.


Accessed from Korean Central News Agency and is used for commentary purposes only.

Kim Jong Un in the Korean State Media on May 2nd (left), versus Un in 2019 before meeting President Donald Trump (right). A clear difference is visible in the ears of the two men. Un’s earlobes in 2019 were attached, and in 2020 they appear to have detached, a genetic impossibility.

Chase M. Gibson, Staff Reporter

The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea has always been a different place from most of the world. Despite the country’s friendly appearance on its website, the country is not a free state. On the site, it is claimed that North Korea is a true worker’s state. Yet, the citizens are heavily restricted, the people live in poverty, generally are not free, and must bow to the state, and more accurately, Kim Jong-un.  

Jason Janczak, the Social Studies Department Chair said, “When the government can control the message, they can control how they are viewed, in their mind, around the world.  When the government either censors or discredits anything that makes them look bad, it is not helpful to their standing in the world. Dictatorships want all to be well and will often censor or discredit bad information because it goes against the image they wish to portray of themselves.” 

This image control became a serious problem, when “Dearest Comrade” himself, Kim Jong-un, as he is referred to by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea’s state-run media service, disappeared. According to most sources, he had intensive heart surgery. Then, 22 days after his sudden disappearance, he reappeared in a photo, opening a new factory.

This image led to many theories. Heart surgeries of the caliber that Kim Jong-un underwent can take over a year to recover from, assuming you are healthy, a non-smoker, and young. Un, a constant smoker and heavy drinker, as well as a compulsive eater, does not fit that bill. This led to a body double theory. 

This seems outlandish, but there are actually known to be several body doubles of Un in the Korean State’s employ. This, cobbled with the fact that certain traits of the North Korean Dictator don’t appear to match with earlier appearances. Many speculate on teeth, but the biggest hint is that Kim Jong Un suddenly had a genetic change in his earlobes. A picture of Un meeting with Trump in 2019 shows that he has attached ears. The Un that reappeared does not have attached ears. Genetic differences cannot change because of a heart surgery. 

This leads to speculation as to what actually is going on in North Korea. Forbes, the New York Post, and The Washington Post have all touched on this.  Fortunately, KCNA has English as a supported language. Unfortunately, the site hides ten articles, just on the front page, and switches many other articles’ content when English mode is turned on. So, to get the full, undistorted site, Korean language mode has to be on. What is there? Business as usual. There is no reference to the Dictator’s sudden disappearance. 

James Plaza, a current events teacher at Central, said that “North Korea is really hard to figure out in general, just because they try to control the information that leaves the country, so it’s hard to figure out exactly what is going on there.” 

If the body double theory is correct, there are many possibilities as to what is going on. One: Kim Jong-un is dead. If Kim is dead, the North Korean Government would need to conceal that fact, because it could be vulnerable to the USA and South Korea’s OPLAN (Operation Plan) 5029 and 5030, which is when there is a major destabilization in North Korea, we have a rapid military advance against the country. North Korea is tiny, with a largely useless military, composed of Cold War-era equipment. 

The other possibility is that Un is just recovering, and in an attempt to show that everything is okay, they are displaying the body double as Kim, so that we think that they are ok. Unfortunately for North Korea, that doesn’t appear to be happening.

The third possibility is that nothing is wrong and there is no double. The most boring, but a slightly more plausible theory. 

No one may ever know the truth of what happened in North Korea this past month, except for Kim Jong-un himself.