South Korean diplomat has claimed dictator Kim Jong Un is in a comatose state 

'I assess him to be in a coma, but his life has not ended,' Chang Song-min said

He claimed all the leader's public appearances in recent months have been faked

He added that dictator's sister, Kim Yo-jong, 33, is being positioned to take over 

Supreme Leader of North Korea and the leader of the Workers' Party of Korea, Kim Jong Un

A South Korean diplomat has speculated that Kim Jong Un is in a coma and his sister is being positioned to take control of North Korea

Chang Song-min, an ex-aide to late-South Korean president Kim Dae-jung, believes Kim has been in a comatose state since April, and that all of his public appearances have been faked. 

Chang speculated that Kim Yo-jong, the dictator's younger sister, is now being groomed for leadership after spy chiefs claimed that she has been promoted to de-facto deputy leader of the country. 

A South Korean diplomat has sensationally claimed that Kim Jong Un is in a coma and his sister is set to take control of North Korea. Above, Kim Jong Un pictured at a plenary meeting on Thursday 

Kim Yo-jong, 33, (pictured below) is in prime position to take over some of her brother's powers, according to Chang Song-min

Intelligence officials are said to have told a closed-door meeting of security chiefs that Kim has put his sister in charge of foreign policy toward the US and South Korea.

The role, if confirmed, would make her de-facto second-in-command of the country.

Chang said that such a move is unprecedented in North Korea's history, and would only occur under two scenarios - if Kim was gravely ill, or if there had been a coup.

Of the two possibilities, Chang wrote on Facebook: 'I assess him to be in a coma, but his life has not ended.'  

He added: '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.' 

That would mean that all of Kim's recent public appearances have been faked, including one of him at a party meeting last week. 

Observers have previously suggested that Kim could be using a body-double, after images of him at a fertiliser factory - published after he disappeared for 21 days - seemed to show several physical differences.

But observers poured scorn on Chang's comments, with South Korean website Shinmoongo calling it 'absurd.'

The site pointed out that the former diplomat - now a popular commentator on conservative news outlets - made the same remarks earlier this year.

After 'greatly embarrassing' himself by commenting on the leader's health before he reappeared in public, Chang is now trying to validate his opinions, the site said.

South Korean official says Kim Jong Un's sister is second-in-command

Earlier this week, it was claimed that Kim Jong Un had promoted his sister to second-in-command of North Korea. Above, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, attends a plenary meeting of the Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, August 19.

Other North Korean experts had cast doubt on the initial intelligence from South Korea, which they pointed out has been wrong in the past.

In 2016, the agency reported that chief of the army Ri Yong-gil had been executed, only to subsequently report that he was still alive.   

Kim Jong Un, said to be aged around 36, has only been seen a handful of times this year amid speculation in April that a 'botched' heart operation had left him in a critical condition or even dead.  

While he has appeared in public multiple times since then, his schedule has been dramatically reduced.

South Korean Official says Kim Jong Un's sister is second-in-command

Meanwhile, Kim Yo-jong has been taking on a much larger public profile in recent months, including taking the lead on diplomacy with South Korea.

In June, she gave the order to blow up a joint liaison office with South Korea amid fury at propaganda leaflets being sent over the border.

She was also charged with organising a counter-leaflet campaign in revenge, and ordered loudspeakers playing propaganda messages to be erected along the border.

She also threatened South Korea with unspecified military action, until Kim Jong-un ordered the threat to be withdrawn.

At the time, observers said it was possible that North Korea was trying to boost the leadership profile of the younger Kim, in the event she has to step in for her brother if his health fails.

Others suggested that the pair were attempting to develop a 'good cop, bad cop' dynamic, potentially giving them an edge in negotiations with foreign powers - after the collapse of nuclear talks with Donald Trump.

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