A former South Korean official is claiming that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is in a coma and that his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, has taken control.
Experts have speculated about the health of Kim Jong Un for months, noting his infrequent public appearances and conflicting reports from within the tight-lipped communist country about his condition following a heart operation.
But Chang Song-min, who served the former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung, has said on the record that he believes Kim Jong Un is still alive, but barely.
"A complete succession structure has not been formed, so Kim Yo Jong is being brought to the fore as the vacuum cannot be maintained for a prolonged period," he said.
South Korean spies have found that Kim Yo Jong has been placed as the "de facto second-in-command" awaiting promotion to dictator once her older brother dies.
The 33-year-old Kim Yo Jong is said to be currently "steering overall state affairs" in North Korea.