Professor Hazel Sarah told Sky News that Kim Jong-un’s obesity puts him at a high risk of becoming seriously ill due to the COVID-19 outbreak. North Korea has not reported any cases of the coronavirus. However, speculation has grown regarding the Supreme Leader of North Korea’s health as he has not been seen in public for over a fortnight.
Professor Smith said: “People like Kim Jong-un, you don’t need to have special intelligence to see that he is clearly vulnerable being seriously ill.
“He is obese, he smokes a lot, there seems to be some evidence that obesity causes you to be worse if you catch the COVID virus.
“This would indicate that it would be sensible for their scientists and medical people to seek to keep him sheltered from any prospect of catching the infection.”
Earlier today foreign policy expert Bruce Klingner told Fox News that North Korea’s lack of a formal succession plan for Kim Jong-un could spark a “power struggle” in the region.
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Mr Klinger said: “As was the case when his father passed away, there is no formal succession plan in the North Korea constitution.
“We don’t know if they have anything planned behind the scenes.
“So right now, we are all speculating who the next leader might be.
“We are speculating that his sister may be the next leader. In the last couple of years, she has gained power, she has gained authority, we have seen her coming out of the shadows in the last couple of years.
“There is always a concern when you have a nuclear weapons state if you don’t know who the next leader is.”
Mr Klinger continued: “It could be a smooth transition, or it could be a power struggle where everyone is trying to grab the ring of power and then who has control of nuclear weapons and the military.
“So it will be of great concern if Kim dies without a formal succession plan.”
And Professor Robert Kelly discussed the potential consequences of North Korea having to replace Kim Jong-un during an interview with Sky News.
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Prof Kelly stated that in some scenarios the Chinese army could be forced to move into North Korea to secure nuclear materials.
Prof Kelly said: “That said if there is conflict over the succession and North Korea starts to come apart and you get generals fighting each other over turf, that would be a disaster for China.
“This is where you see these scenarios of the Chinese army moving into the north to secure new nuclear materials in case that would slip out of control.
“So my sense is that the Chinese are probably split on this.”
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