Dennis Rodman says Kim Jong-un's sister appearing more on TV is a clue that 'something is wrong' with dictator
The former Detriot Pistons forward has said he had been in touch with North Korea after speculation was rife that the despot was either seriously ill or had died following a botched heart procedure
Dennis Rodman says the world should understand "something is wrong" with his longtime pal Kim Jong-un if the dictator's sister increases her public appearances and gets more face time on TV. According to a report by Metro, the former Detriot Pistons forward has said he had been in touch with North Korea after speculation was rife that the despot was either seriously ill or had died following a botched heart procedure.
“I do have communications with North Korea, but I can say this though – If you see his sister on TV, running the country, now you know something is wrong, that’s all I’m going give you,” Rodman, who befriended Kim during a 2013 trip to Pyongyang, told 'Good Morning Britain' host Piers Morgan.
Earlier this month, Rodman, 58, was all praises for Kim's sister Kim Yo-jong, who is said to be next in line to succeed the leader. “His sister was a sweetheart,” Rodman told the New York Post. “She was very kind to me when [I was a] guest.”
At the time, Rodman said he believed Kim was still alive and that his rumored health ordeal "probably wasn't much." “I’ve been to dinner with dignitaries there that were reported to be dead here,” Rodman told The Post. “I don’t believe North Korean news until I hear it from their side. I think the fact that they keep to themselves, in many ways, gives the media the ability to run with rumors at times.”
Earlier this month, North Korean state media release photos of Kim's appearance at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of a fertilizer plant in Suncheon to quash rumors of his death. Though US intelligence has not been unable to verify the authenticity of the images, they have had no choice but to only guess that he is “probably” alive and well.
“He seems to be out and cutting ribbons on fertilizer factories,” White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien told reporters earlier this month. “So, you know, our thinking is he is probably doing well.”
Nonetheless, he admitted that intelligence “can’t say one way or the other” if the recent “open source” photos of Kim were genuine. “We call it the hermit kingdom,” O’Brien said. “It’s very difficult to get information out of North Korea. They’re not very forthcoming with information, but they did release photos of him being alive and well and we assume that he is.”
Rumors of Kim's deteriorating health or death first surfaced after he disappeared for three weeks and more importantly missed a major national event commemorating the 108th birthday of his grandfather Kim Il Sung. He supposedly emerged on May 1, but photos from the event sparked wild theories that he may have used a body double for the pictures that are yet to be verified. Reports of Kim's ill health or possible death emerged last month after a South Korean outlet, Daily NK, claimed that Kim had undergone a cardiovascular system procedure in Pyongyang on April 12 because of "excessive smoking, obesity and overworking."