Pyongyang: Ever since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un disappeared from public view, rumour mills have been abuzz with a plethora of speculations and the latest of them suggests that his sister Kim Yo Jong might be at the helm of the Hermit Kingdom.
The latest reports claim that Kim Yo Jong has been chosen to fill the power vacuum created by Kim's mysterious absence and might be secretly running North Korea as the leader himself remains out of public view for over a month now.
His sister, Kim Yo Jong, said to be 27-year-old, is the youngest of the seven siblings (from four different mothers) of Kim Jong Un and reportedly is one of the rare people to have direct access to him.
Kim Yo Jong is also said to have studied in the same Swiss boarding school as that of Kim.
“She is only people [in North Korea] that we know has unfettered direct access to KJU," Michael Madden, editor of the North Korea Leadership Watch blog, told the Global Post.
Also, she has been identified by the state media as deputy director of the Workers' Party, Madden told CNN.
The speculation that she might be running the nation in Kim's absence has been put forward by a think-tank run by defectors from North Korea.
Kim Yo Jong may be at least temporarily leading the government, the CNN reported citing the defectors' think-tank The North Korea Intellectuals' Solidarity. However, it has not been confirmed yet.
Adding to the possibility of his sister being at the helm, a North Korean defector told the CNN that Kim Jong Un was not in control.
If the speculation is confirmed to be true, it increases the possibilities of something being seriously wrong with Kim Jong Un.
The leader was last seen on September 3, when he attended a concert with his wife. Before that, he was seen walking with a limp in July at the 20th anniversary memorial commemorating the death of his grandfather, the nation's founder.
The video of him limping to the stage has added fuel to the speculations of him being ill – a claim refuted by a delegation of North Korea that met South Korean officials in a rare visit aimed at bettering ties.
Earlier reports have doubted that Kim may be suffering from diabetes, gout, ankle problems etc.
However, according to a CNN report that cited an analyst Michael Green, given the family history of the leader, he might be suffering from emotional and mental problems too, like paranoia, narcissism and attraction to violence.
The rumours spinning around Kim's health ailments might be intensified if Kim Jong Un fails to turn up at a key event this Friday, Oct. 10 which is held each year to mark the founding of North Korea's communist party.