Where Is Kim Jong-un? How Experts Track North Korea’s Leader

It was held in honor of the country'' s founder, Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994. It'' s like when the president ' s in the White House. It'' s the kind of visual hint that analysts tend to keep a close eye on. North Korea watchers have actually used flight tracking in the past for clues about the ruler'' s intents. None of these strategies alone can provide a complete picture of Kim'' s life.

This was a current birthday event in North Korea'' s capital, Pyongyang. It was held in honor of the country'' s founder, Kim Il-sung, who passed away in 1994. The celebrations might have appeared routine. However something, somebody, was missing out on. Kim Jong-un, North Korea'' s ruler. Here he is at that exact same event in past years. Kim'' s absence has resulted in concerns about his health and whereabouts. Details from the deceptive program are difficult to come by. ” “They have such control over info. They are so excellent at restricting access. “” So how do North Korea watchers try to discern what'' s occurring during moments like this? We talked to a number of experts to understand a few of the primary strategies that they count on. Satellite images are a key tool. Analysts utilize them to look for changes or patterns that can help explain what might be happening in the country and to track Kim Jong-un'' s movements. Take the Central Party Complex, for example, the program'' s head office. “” The Central Party Complex lies right next to where they have the military parades. In Pyongyang, it is called North Korea'' s Forbidden City, because you can not go there without showing your ID. You'' ve got to go through 4 lines of security before you go in to the real building. However it is where all of North Korea'' s top authorities have homes. “” However from above, there are methods around the secrecy. ” “You could tell if Kim Jong-un remains in the workplace based upon the guard deployments around the structures. It'' s like when the president ' s in the White House. You can see it. There ' s a state security presence by the Secret Service. “” The complex also includes Kim'' s reported personal medical clinic. But in April, we spotted a change. The center had actually just been demolished, giving way for a much larger structure. It'' s the sort of visual clue that analysts tend to keep a close eye on. If Kim Jong-un does have health issues, there are other places specialists aim to for indications, like North Korea'' s most elite health center where the Kim family has its own wing. Experts might look for particular cars outside. Here'' s what a motorcade looks like near one of Kim'' s houses. If this appears near the healthcare facility, it may imply he'' s there. “We would take a look at vehicles parked outside of the healthcare facility– beyond the entrance. They would, of course, be parked very orderly. It would be neat and really tidy. And anywhere from 6 to 10 Mercedes Benz sedans. And then after that, we would most likely begin to see what are called ACVs, armored fight lorries, and any other release of Kim Jong-un'' s body guard systems.” Another area that observers look at is this train station in Wonsan, near one of Kim'' s preferred homes. Recently, what is likely his individual train was spotted parked nearby. [MUSIC PLAYING] If Kim'' s health was of serious issue, or if the regime felt its very survival was in instant danger, experts might aim to a substance and surrounding area in the country'' s north. “This is where the Kim ' s and the North Korean authorities would take a trip and release directions and commands. It is geographically separated. It is an unique district where Kim Jong-un has his panic room and has a command and control center where he would have the ability to command North Korea'' s militaries in the event of an invasion or in case of an insurrection versus his management. And it likewise has the value-added advantage of being so near the North Korea- China border that he might drive into China if they felt that the emergency situation was that bad. “” He may do it at this residential substance if Kim were recovering from an ailment. It'' s where Kim ' s father, Kim Jong-il, made his first public appearance at a soccer video game after having a stroke in 2008. “” It lies about 20 to 30 minutes from central Pyongyang. So that would enable him to recuperate in personal privacy, and quietly. However if he needed to go to Pyongyang to exercise his authority or reveal his face at a political meeting, it'' s a brief drive. “” Satellite images doesn'' t constantly provide a clear response. ” “We also need to be conscious of the fact that North Korea is extremely aware that we are viewing them from above. And so I have seen in the past that North Korea utilizes that satellite imagery to hide what they'' re doing and to deflect what they'' re doing. ” “” “Sometimes when he'' s gone abroad, they will put the guard deployments up there to make it appear like he'' s in there. ” He ' s not therein.” Another area North Korea watchers seek to for ideas about the program is state-run news outlets. Although the media treats North Korean leaders as godlike figures, professionals state there are ways to tell if Kim is in difficulty. ” “If there'' s a major crisis today, tomorrow, within a couple of days, what we will see are long editorials or extremely long essays published in North Korea'' s papers, which will talk about the virtues of Kim household management. They won'' t refer directly to Kim Jong-un necessarily. But they will speak about virtues and trace those virtues back to all 3 of the Kims. “” [CHOIR SINGING IN KOREAN] The presence or lack of the ruler during major media spectacles may also be a distressing indication, like in 2008 when Kim Jong-un'' s daddy and after that leader was due at a major military parade to commemorate the nation'' s founding. “” We'' re expecting then leader Kim Jong-il to come out and wave, salute the troops. So it was my first day of work. I was seeing this. And lo and behold, as the video camera scanned to the seeing platform, he wasn'' t there. And I can not tell you, that just sent out shivers down my spinal column. We lastly got intel sources in Washington, D. C., to confirm that they thought that Kim Jong-il had actually suffered a stroke numerous weeks previously in August and was in a coma. “” State television didn'' t cover Kim Jong-il'' s ailments. “” All they revealed on state TV was old documentary video footage but no new images that have actually been moving for months. North Korea never ever acknowledged his disease– never ever. “” Finally, there is the tracking of private and business flights. This site reveals flights over a common 48-hour period. Notice how empty it is over North Korea. Only about half a lots industrial airliners land in Pyongyang'' s airport each day. Any unscheduled flight ought to stand out. If Kim Jong-un was badly ill, experts might look for a particular kind of flight showing up in Pyongyang. “” I would look for charter flights since if it was a major medical treatment, there'' s a really high opportunity that they would have maintained foreign physicians to do the procedure. “” North Korea watchers have actually used flight tracking in the past for clues about the ruler'' s objectives. In 2018, unscheduled cargo aircraft flights were quickly spotted leaving Pyongyang bound for Vladivostok, Russia. Both were believed to have actually been involved in sanctions infractions by the regime. None of these strategies alone can supply a complete image of Kim'' s life. Analysts also greatly depend on human and intelligence sources. And regardless of contemporary technology and competence, the regime still handles to keep most of its internal affairs far from spying eyes. [CHOIR HUMMING]