In its intensity, the media hype around the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un can be compared to the issue of utmost importance for humanity – the COVID-19 pandemic.
This kind of attention to the DPRK leader's health once again demonstrates that modern human life does not leave much room for concealing anything from the intelligence and media, and that North Korea has achieved its goal of not going to warm the bench of world politics. In other words, Pyongyang's idea provides for the world (whether it wants it or not) to accept the North Koreans for what they are with all their virtues and flaws.
The North Korean leadership has a lot of techniques for this: from demonstrating its nuclear and missile power and readiness to die game to creating an atmosphere of mystery around the fate of top political and military leadership representatives.
In the latter, Pyongyang is unwittingly helped by various "informed sources" from high-ranking officials in North Korean circles or foreign countries, as well as from among North Korean defectors eager to win confidence and material support with their new masters.
It hardly makes sense to dwell on different versions of such sources, even exotic ones, and speculate about whether the current leader of North Korea is alive or dead. All people get sick and die at some point, or just linger behind the scene for a while to think about urgent business in a calm atmosphere.
And the North Korean leadership certainly has such business, and the main thing is that the time is right for Pyongyang to decide on further behavior in relations with the Americans. Before long, Donald Trump will obviously demand from the DPRK a substantive answer to the question whether North Korea will go along with the Americans to the promised "bright and prosperous future", or it will stay in its poor past associated with China and Russia.
In this light, the North Korean leadership may well need some changes in the political elite, and the name of Kim Yo-jong, Kim Jong-un's younger sister and a prominent North Korean political, state and party figure, may musher a new era in the life of North Korean society.
Two events are worth noting in this regard. The first is a phrase accidentally or intentionally dropped by Donald Trump about some recent letter from Kim Jong-un to the American President. It was a "good letter," Trump said...
What's this? One of the careless statements that are certainly intrinsic to the current American President, or a deliberate hoax aimed to probe Pyongyang's further foreign policy steps, or a triumphant affirmation to Moscow and Beijing of the North Korean leadership's changed course? There are no ready answers to these questions yet, but they may soon appear. The situation with the Kim Jong-un's fate and the further development of the country's foreign policy cannot remain unclear for long.
In this regard, there is another interesting but superficially small-scale fact. Recently (meaning April), the North Korean Embassy has started actively distributing information materials about Pyongyang's unalterable course to strengthen relations with Russia.
"Of course, there are certain obstacles and challenges along the track, but the friendship relations between the DPRK and the Russian Federation, that have a deep history and tradition, will be strengthened and developed at a higher level with the profound attention of the two countries' top leaders," North Korean Ambassador to Moscow Sin Hong Chol said in an interview with the Rossiya Segodnya international news agency.
"Agreements reached during the meeting and negotiations at the highest level are a significant milestone in strengthening strategic cooperation between the two countries in order to ensure peace and security in the North-Eastern region of Asia and in the world as a whole," the Ambassador emphasized.
One might recall that Kim Jong-un's visit to Russia took place on April 24-26, 2019. Back then, leaders of the two countries met and had detailed talks in Vladivostok.
In 2019 and earlier in 2018, Kim Jong-un repeatedly met with the Chinese leadership.
During these contacts, the Korean leader and his Russian and Chinese colleagues certainly worked out options for Pyongyang's actions for all eventualities, including the possibility of solving the accumulated numerous North Korean problems through a U-turn in US-North Korean relations.
What exactly does the North Korean diplomat imply in his statement? Is he really convincing his Russian "partners" of an unaltered strategic cooperation course, or is he trying to appease Russian politicians ahead of some unspecified political changes?
There are no answers to any of these questions today, but they will definitely appear in the nearest future.
North Korean official media actively deny the death or illness of Kim Jong-un, while a message from the Vice Director of Hong Kong television HKSTV about the North Korean leader's death is becoming widespread in the Chinese social media.
Well, the world has already witnessed speculation on both the second and first issues. The near future will dot the i's and cross the t's.
But it is already clear that the North Korean leadership is absolutely confident in its ability to retain power and preserve stability in the country whatever the circumstances. The North Korean machinery of government is currently so well-adjusted and so independent in its actions that its ability to fully control the life of the country is beyond any doubt, including the mainstream North Korean society's consciousness, as well as the ability to make any foreign policy decision.
Indicative of the state affairs is the fact that despite any, even high-ranking defectors, Pyongyang generally manages to keep the international community in the dark on important and sensitive issues of DPRK's state policy.
And it is clear that foreign intelligence agencies, much less the media, unfortunately have no "reliable sources" on North Korean issues for the time being.
Whether Kim Jong-un is alive or an adequate replacement is already being prepared is nothing but a matter of speculation. Any such outcome is not going to affect the country's stability.
Meanwhile, the DPRK intrigues the world with possible political changes.