Taiwan’s National Security Bureau (NSB) director on Thursday said that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is “sick” and that there are emergency plans in place to fill the vacuum in the hermit kingdom, if he dies.
The NSB director Chiu Kuo-cheng made the statement during a meeting of the legislative where he gave a presentation. But when asked if he meant that Kim Jong Un was actually alive contrary to media rumors of his possible death, the NSB director merely laughed and refused to reply.
“My answer is from the intelligence that is available and it is not an opinion,” Chiu told lawmakers, according to the Taipei Times.
He refused to elaborate, citing the need to protect the intelligence service’s sources in North Korea, the report said.
Chiu Kuo-cheng assured legislators that contingency plans were in place ready for a potential power struggle in the region if the North Korean leader did succumb, according to the reports.
However, his deputy, Hu Mu-yuan, later insisted that their intelligence was “unable to confirm the status of Kim Jong Un’s health,” the paper said.
“From what we know, Kim is still in charge and in control of North Korea’s military and its government,” Hu said, according to the Taipei Times.
Meanwhile, a North Korean defector now serving as a lawmaker in the South said that he is “99 percent” certain Kim Jong Un is dead.
Ji Seong-ho made the comment without citing his source, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
“I’ve wondered how long he could have endured after cardiovascular surgery. I’ve been informed that Kim died last weekend,” Ji told Yonhap.
“It is not 100 percent certain, but I can say the possibility is 99 percent,” he added, speculating that North Korea, which “is believed to be grappling with a complicated succession issue,” may officially announce the news very soon.