Kim, whose whereabouts remain unclear since presiding over an April 11 meeting, purportedly “had something wrong healthwise due to either excessive drinking or overwork,” a contributor for Seoul-based outlet Daily NK reported Friday.
Although it admits “we do not know exactly,” the report adds, “he may have retired to his villa in Wonsan to rest.”
Kim, whose absence has raised concerns about instability in the nuclear-armed nation, had initially planned to take a “short reprise” at his villa prior to heading to Pyongyang for the “Day of the Sun,” but skipped the planned event because he wasn’t feeling well, according to the report.
“Therefore, he must have felt that economic issues should be left to the experts, Prime Minister Kim Jae Ryong and Vice Chairman Park Pong Ju,” contributor Chung Chang Yeol wrote. “What happened next, however, was unexpected.”
Kim may have sought to keep both South Korea and the United States “off balance” by instructing others to send diplomatic telegraphs or deliver birthday gifts in his name, according to the report.