TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's National Security Bureau (NSB) director on Thursday (April 30) said that North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un is "sick" and that there are contingency plans in place in the event of a power vacuum in the hermit kingdom.
During a meeting of the Legislative Yuan on Thursday, the NSB gave a presentation on the status of the national intelligence work and the international situation amid the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) asked NSB Director-General Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) if China's recent propaganda bluster and military exercises around Taiwan mean it is trying to project power amid the outbreak or that it's planning for a military confrontation with Taiwan.
Chiu said that after reviewing media reports, accounts from special agents, and information from diplomatic allies, it is possible that China is looking to create a conflict, reported CNA. However, he emphasized that China's military has always been very conservative and that it currently appears to be wanting to emphasize that it has not been affected by the epidemic.
Given recent media reports that Kim was gravely ill or even deceased, Tsai asked Chiu about the North Korean leader's current health status. Chiu responded by simply saying he is "sick" (有病), according to the report.
When Tsai pressed Chiu further by asking "he's sick, but is he still alive?" Chiu laughed but did not respond to the question.
Kuomintang (KMT) legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) then asked Chiu if there were any contingency plans in the event there was a power vacuum in North Korea after Kim's death. Chiu responded that the NSB is at the ready.
KMT Chairman Chiang Chi-chen (江啟臣) asked if Chiu could provide more detailed information about the situation in North Korea. Chiu responded that the NSB has relevant information but can only divulge it behind closed doors because if it were discussed publicly, the source could be compromised.
Chiu also pointed out that according to the findings of the NSB's study of the communist country, no matter how turbulent the political situation may be, there might be a short period of integration and struggle. As to whether there would be large-scale military mobilization, he emphasized that North Korea is very closed off, with nuclear bombs, missiles, and other armaments.
Chiu said that If there is a "situation," not only Taiwan but also South Korea and Japan would be in the scope of areas affected.