South Korean, Chinese and U.S. officials have all challenged emerging reports that Kim is seriously ill after undergoing surgery almost two weeks ago—Reuters reported that a South Korean source indicated on Friday that all intelligence pointed to Kim being alive, and likely to make a public appearance shortly.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un was absent from another important national event Saturday, fueling speculation about his health amid reports that a team of medical experts was sent by China to check on him.
The reports all share the same basic information – the 36-year-old dictator reportedly fell ill
suddenly and was hospitalized for a heart procedure.
On Tuesday, CNN reported that the U.S. was “monitoring intelligence that suggests North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, is in grave danger after undergoing a previous surgery.”
Outlets reporting his death today say their sourcing indicates Kim lapsed into a vegetative state after the surgery went wrong and died either Friday or Saturday.
North Korea has yet to confirm the reports.
North Korea on Saturday celebrated the 88th anniversary of the founding of its armed forces, the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army—butnoticeably missing from fanfare in the state-controlled media footage was the country’s supreme leader, Kim, according to South Korean media reports.
The absence of Kim, who is believed to be 36 years old, has spurred speculation over his health, with reports ranging from that he is gravely illafter a cardiovascular operation to that he’s already dead.
Reuters reported that a team including medical experts left Beijing for the hermit kingdom on Thursday to advise Kim, led by a senior member of Chinese Communist Party’s International Liaison Department, which often deals with North Korea.