South Korean government sources told Reuters on Monday that they have not detected any suspicious activity in North Korea after reports surfaced that the country’s supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, was “in grave danger” following a surgery.
According to CNN, the United States is currently monitoring reports that Un is facing serious health complications as a reult of a surgery.
A U.S. official informed CNN that the reports concerning the North Korean leader’s health are legitimate, but the level of severity could not be confirmed.
However, two South Korean government sources told Reuters that the claims about Un’s health were false.
“We have no information to confirm regarding rumors about Chairman Kim Jong Un’s health issue that have been reported by some media outlets. Also, no unusual developments have been detected inside North Korea,” spokesman for South Korea’s presidential Blue House Kang Min-seok said in a statement, according to AP News.
Kim was last seen nine days ago on April 11th and recently missed the celebration of his grandfather Kim Il Sung on April 15th, raising questions regarding his health, CNN reported. According to Reuters, Kim was believed to be recovering from a cardiovascular procedure “at a villa in the Mount Kumgang resort county of Hyangsan.” (RELATED: FBI Informant Bragged About Links To Russian Spies In Secret Recording Of Trump Aide)
“I’m told by a U.S. Official with direct knowledge that the U.S. is monitoring intelligence that the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is in grave danger following a surgery,” said CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto. “Now, we should note that Kim, he recently missed the celebration of his grandfather Kim Il-sung’s birthday on April 15th. This raised speculation about his well being, about his health.”
“It was the absence in recent days that had begun to raise questions about his well being, and now the U.S. is monitoring intelligence that he had undergone a surgery, that there were problems and that his health is now in grave danger.”
Breaking: The US is monitoring intelligence that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s health is in grave danger following a surgery, a US official with direct knowledge tells me.
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) April 21, 2020
Kim has no clear heir, and his death could cause a power struggle between rival political factions within the DPRK. The North Korean leader’s health has been in decline for several months due to heavy smoking and obesity, CNBC reports.
Sciutto noted U.S. intelligence did not report to him that Kim’s health conditioned is a result of COVID-19. North Korea currently reports zero confirmed cases of the coronavirus virus, according to the Washington Post, however these numbers are believed to be misleading.
News coming out of North Korea is notoriously unreliable; for example, North Korean state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun has consistently reported zero cases of COVID-19 within the communist state despite how widespread the virus has become.
Based on experience, shouldn’t we all doubt this Kim story?
— Tim Carney (@TPCarney) April 21, 2020
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.