North Korean leader Kim Jong Un likely trying to avoid coronavirus, South Korea official says

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Kim Jong Un, who vanished from the public eye nearly three weeks ago, isn’t dead —he’s likely just trying to avoid catching coronavirus, according to South Korea’s minister for North Korean affairs.
The North Korean leader was last seen alive on April 11, during a meeting to discuss the nation’s handling of COVID-19 and electing his sister as an alternate member of the political bureau of the Ruling Worker’s Party, according to the North’s Official Korean Central News Agency.
Rumors about Kim’s death have been circulating since his absence from the birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung, a national holiday honoring his grandfather, on April 15.
Officials in South Korea have repeatedly cautioned against reports that Kim is gravely ill or dead, emphasizing they have not detected any unusual movements in North Korea.
“The government is aware of Kim Jong Un’s location,” Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said during a parliamentary session on Tuesday.
Amid speculation regarding Kim’s health, officials have said his lack of presence could be a bid to avoid catching coronavirus – a potentially deadly and fast-spreading illness that emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, Reuters reported. North Korea has canceled some large events and imposed a border lockdown in an effort to curb an outbreak.
“It is true that he had never missed the anniversary for [state founder] Kim Il Sung’s birthday since he took power, but many anniversary events, including celebrations and a banquet have been canceled because of coronavirus concerns," Kim Yeon-chul said.
Since January, there have been two instances where Kim went unseen for nearly 20 days.
“I don’t think that’s particularly unusual given the [coronavirus] situation,” he added.
The remarks come after recent media reports suggesting the North Korean leader, an overweight smoker believed to be in his 30s, was in critical condition following a cardiovascular procedure. Daily NK, a Seoul-based specialty website, reported earlier this month that Kim was in recovery after undergoing the surgery on April 12.
CNN also recently cited an unnamed U.S. official in a report this month claiming the White House was “monitoring intelligence” suggesting Kim’s life was in danger

Asked separately whether South Korea has been updating President Trump on the matter, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said the Commander-in-Chief has been in constant contact with South Korea officials, according to Bloomberg News. She added that Trump had been notified about the North Korean leader’s condition but was not given his location.

During a White House briefing on Monday, Trump confirmed he was aware of Kim’s status and that the public would learn the truth in the “not too distant future.”

“I can’t tell you, exactly —yes, I do have a very good idea, but I can’t talk about it now,” the president said. “I just wish him well.”

Satellite images released on Saturday showed a train allegedly belonging to Kim parked in the coastal resort area of Wonsan.

1 comment:

  1. They are having a very hard time coming up with a lookalike or clone for this chubby chipmonk!!!!! When they do he will miraculously say he was just taking a vacation away from everyone else......


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