A little more than a year after North Korean state media reported the death of leader Kim Jong Il, reports are circulating new speculations about the cause of the the dictator's death.
An anonymous source quoted in Chosun Ilbo, a conservative newspaper in South Korea, claimed the leader died after suffering a fit of rage over problems at an important hydro-electric power plant in Huichon, Jagang Province.
"After being briefed about the leak, Kim Jong Il lambasted officials and ordered them to repair it," said the source, who asked to remain anonymous. "He rushed to make an on-site inspection of the facility unable to contain his anger and died suddenly."
Details regarding the official story of the 69-year-old's 2011 death are tightly controlled. At the time, it took North Korea's state-run KCNA news three days to announce the death, with an emotional broadcaster reporting Kim died due to "overwork" after "dedicating his life to the people," according to CNN.
KCNA reported that Kim was on his personal train bound for a "field guidance tour" when he suffered the fatal heart attack. But the Wall Street Journal points out that story has plenty of holes in it, including Kim's "apparent habit about sleeping in" (the time of death was listed as 8:30 a.m.). In addition, satellite pictures appear to show the train was still in the capital of Pyongyang at the time of his death.
The theory is "intriguing," writes The Journal's Alastair Gale, "because it’s certainly plausible that Mr. Kim would’ve been extremely unhappy about such news given the importance of the project and his well-documented bad temper. Throw a weak heart into the mix and, boom, it may have toppled him."
As the Independent notes, the power plant is an important piece of the country's energy plan and was built to ease shortages in power-starved Pyongyang. The nation's coat of arms even includes an image of a hydro plant.
Four month's after Kim Jong Il's death, the plant opened with fanfare, seven years ahead of schedule, according to the New York Daily News.