South Korean government officials are playing down speculation over the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying he is alive and well. Kim has not been seen in public for more than two weeks – and there have been unconfirmed reports that he was seriously ill following heart surgery.
There has been speculation over Kim Jong Un’s health and whereabouts recently, but South Korea says he is “alive and well” and has been staying at a resort for the past two week. CNA’s Lim Yun Suk with more details.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is “alive and well”, a top security adviser to the South’s President Moon Jae-in said, downplaying rumours over Kim’s health following his absence from a key anniversary.
“Our government position is firm,” said Moon’s special adviser on national security Moon Chung-in, in an interview with CNN on Sunday (Apr 26). “Kim Jong Un is alive and well.”
The adviser said that Kim had been staying in Wonsan – a resort town in the country’s east – since Apr 13, adding: “No suspicious movements have so far been detected.”
Conjecture about Kim’s health has grown since his conspicuous absence from the Apr 15 celebrations for the birthday of his grandfather Kim Il Sung, the North’s founder – the most important day in the country’s political calendar.
Kim has not made a public appearance since presiding over a Workers’ Party politburo meeting on Apr 11, and the following day state media reported him inspecting fighter jets at an air defence unit.
His absence has unleashed a series of unconfirmed media reports over his condition, which officials in Seoul previously poured cold water on.
“We have nothing to confirm and no special movement has been detected inside North Korea as of now,” the South’s presidential office said in a statement last week.
South Korea’s unification minister Kim Yeon-chul reiterated on Monday that remained the case, adding the “confident” conclusion was drawn from “a complex process of intelligence gathering and assessment”.