North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, officially 39 years old, appeared on North Korean TV with a dark green spot on the back of his head. In other broadcasts, a plaster was seen in the same spot. The images dust existing doubts about the leader’s health.
The patch was seen in footage of a North Korean military event that ran from July 24 to 27, reported news site NK News, which is trying to follow up on the news from the country. The website also found images without plaster dating to the end of July. It shows a green spot, possibly a healing bruise.
The regime is scrupulously keeping details about the leader’s health secret. Occasionally, the leader disappears from public life for weeks to months. He then appears in public to quell doubts about the stability of his regime. This often results in a rare tip, which is widely speculated abroad.
For example, the world saw a greatly emaciated Jong-un on television in May, after a three-week absence. Last year, Jong-un also remained out of sight for about three months in the spring, only to appear on holiday with a dark spot on his arm. In 2014 he suddenly walked with a cane after an absence of six weeks.
There has been much speculation about the health of chain-smoking and drinking Kim Jong-un. The bruises may be related to heart disease. Both his grandfather and his father, the previous leaders of North Korea, have died of cardiac arrest.
Another hypothesis is that at the place of the plaster, a starting tumour has been cut away from the leader. North Korea’s grandfather and founder Kim Il-sung had a tumour on the back of his head, which has only been captured on film during foreign missions. So it was hidden from the people themselves.