Kim has not been seen publicly since September 4, and is reportedly suffering from gout, the "kings' malady" form of arthritis brought on by rich diet and sedentary lifestyle. He also reportedly underwent surgery for two broken ankles.
But according to some experts, his absence from the September meeting of the nation's rubber-stamp congress, the Supreme People's Assembly, is only the latest indication that something has gone seriously awry for the dictator.
The trip comes just days after Jang Jin Sung, a former counterintelligence official and high-ranking member of Kim Jong Il's regime, told fellow exiles in Netherlands that he believed recent events only added evidence that Kim was no longer in charge.
This post was published at UPI