SPECULATION RIFE OVER NORTH KOREAN LEADER’S HEALTH STATUS
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has not been seen in public for more than two weeks, but the world has few clues to his whereabouts or the state of his health. Speculation is rampant – not even US President Donald Trump, who has developed quite a rapport with Mr Kim, could say with certainty how he was doing. The secrecy that dictates every official pronouncement emanating from North Korea makes it virtually impossible to construct a definitive account of the state of its leadership, including the health of members of the Kim family. Kim Jong-un’s absence since 11 April, when he led a party politburo meeting, has generated several theories, including that he is dead or gravely ill, that he is on holiday, or even that he is self-isolating from a coronavirus outbreak that the North Korean media continues to insist has not affected the country. The fact that he missed the major annual 15 April anniversary celebrations of his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, has particularly fanned the flames of speculation since he had never missed them previously since assuming leadership in 2011.
From a Christian perspective, the North Korean government has consistently suppressed Christian activities since its inception. But the Gospel of the Kingdom has a legacy in North Korea, including within the Kim family. Kim Jong-un’s great-grandfather was a part-time protestant missionary. His great-grandmother’s name, Kang Pan-sok, is the Korean word for “Peter,” since she was reportedly named after Jesus’ disciple of the same name. We do not know what their lives were like or what they ‘sowed’ into their family and nation, but we know the Lord we serve, and He is faithful, even when His people are not. Deuteronomy 7:9 says: “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.” We do not know what happened to cause the break in the Kim family, but we can pray that the Lord do a work in Kim Jong-un’s heart, in the way he did in those of his ancestor’s, especially in this time where he is possibly facing his own mortality.
Pray with us for the following:
- For Kim Jong-un, that he will have an encounter with the Lord in this time, and that he will be physically able to repent
- For North Korean believers to remain steadfast in their faith
- For believers around the world to increase their prayers for this nation, especially in a time like this, that breakthrough may come
File image: REUTERS/KCNA