In the past two hours, Twitter has exploded with unsubstantiated rumors that the new North Korean dictator died in Beijing today and that a coup is underway in North Korea. All rumor of course, and one that appears to have been started on Chinaâ€™s twitter-like platform Weibo. As the story goes, a couple assassins barged into Kimâ€™s room in Beijing and shot him, before being shot and killed themselves by bodyguards.
Twitter user ChristianJMay says the rumor is â€œbased on news that a host of blacked out cars have descended upon embassy in Beijing, where he was visiting.â€
User Rocco_Castoro has a different source of information, tweeting â€œThis just in: Kim Jong-unâ€™s cause of death was being force-fed hotdogs and having a basketball bounced off his head repeatedly for 20 hours.â€
Weâ€™ll find out soon enough if Little Kim has followed his father Kim Jong-Il into the hereafter. If he is alive and well, this day of rumors will mark the real beginning of his rule. Kim was expected, after his fatherâ€™s death on Dec. 17, to abide by a 100-day mourning period, like his father did upon the death of Kim Il-Sung in 1994.Yet an article in the Korea JoongAng Daily this week notes that Kim has already come out of mourning, and has been seen traveling North Korea, visiting tourist traps like â€œthe Seoul Ryu Kyong-su 105 Guards Tank Division of the Korean Peopleâ€™s Army in Pyongyang.â€
Then thereâ€™s this heart-melting passage:
Kim Jong-un is already showing a different public personality than that of his father. While Kim Jong-il maintained a distance from the public, wearing sunglasses and rarely having physical contact with the public, the young successor doesnâ€™t hesitate to act friendly and intimately with the people. That is the kind of behavior associated with his grandfather, Kim Il Sung. In a documentary aired recently by the Northâ€™s Korean Central Television, Kim Jong-unâ€™s broad smiles and bold gestures were shown. He whispered in the ears of other soldiers and held the hand of a wife of a military leader. During a visit to an Air Force unit on Jan. 20, he hugged soldiers. When he visited Mangyongdae Revolutionary School on Jan. 25, Kim touched the faces of students and tasted soy sauce.
Soy sauce! Who doesnâ€™t like soy sauce? I would have advised him to tuck into a big bowl of kim-chi, the spicy pickled cabbage that is Koreaâ€™s equivalent of apple pie with ice cream.
Still, maybe this Kim is not so bad after all. Heâ€™s even said to love the iPad 2 and is set to allow Egyptian mobile operator Orascom Telecom to set up internet connections in North Korea.
If Kim is dead, if there is a coup underway in North Korea, itâ€™s likely because after his magnanimous visits to their bases in recent weeks, the army decided that Kim is too much of a softie to keep the North Koreans sealed tighly in their gulag.