Reports started coming in on Monday in regards to Kim Jong-Un's health. Claims ranged anywhere from his "health being in jeopardy" to him being in a vegetative state and even him possibly being dead in some reports. Speculation on his health supposedly came from sources familiar with the situation after Kim had heart surgery last week. Within a couple hours of the initial claims White House officials couldn't confirm the reports but did say they were aware of Kim's upcoming heart surgery. The claims were subsequently dismissed by South Korea's Blue House (the presidential residence) saying activity in the North appeared to be normal and they had no reason to believe the claims. The same reports starting coming in again within the past 24 hours. In addition, Reuters reported that China has sent a team of medical experts to North Korea to advise on Kim's health. That information was given to Reuters by three unnamed sources that are reportedly aware of the situation. No information was given as to what exactly the Chinese medical team was advising on.
Kim Jong-Un hasn't been seen in public in over two weeks at this point. It's very possible that something has happened in the terms of his health seeing as these reports probably didn't materialize out of thin air. With that being said we can't confirm any of these claims and I think for that reason we're better off assuming Kim is still alive and capable in carrying out his duties as the head of state.
This situation has a lot of people trying to predict who would replace Kim Jong-Un in the event that he is dead or incapacitated. Let's try to examine that for a moment. North Korea has been ruled by the Kim family since the nation's inception in 1948. The Kim Dynasty appears to function similar to the way a traditional royal family would. Jong-Un took over from his father, Kim Jong-Il, in 2011 just as Il took over from his father, Kim Il-Sung, in 1994. Following that same pattern Un's heir would be a child of his. At this point, however, it is believe that he only has one child, his daughter Kim Ju-Ae, who is believed to have been born in 2012. Seeing as she would be too young that turns the attention to one of his siblings, at least until Ae became of age. Un has three surviving siblings; his brother, Kim Jong-Nam, was assassinated in 2017. His oldest sibling, Kim Sol-Song, is believed to be active in the country's Propaganda Department and holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Korean People's Army. Although she isn't in the spotlight much and likely wouldn't take over for her brother. Un's second oldest sibling, Kim Jong-Chul, isn't involved in politics and lives a quiet live in Pyongyang, so that takes him out of the running. That leaves Un's younger sister, Kim Yo-Jong. She is a member of the country's Politburo and is the First Deputy Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department. She was thrust into the spotlight after attending the 2018 Olympics in South Korea for her brother and is becoming involved in diplomacy with other nations, including the summits between Un and President Donald Trump. Her young age, experience, and notoriety makes her Un's most likely successor.
Stay safe and have a good one,