Reports are going viral speculating not merely the post-surgery complications of North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un but hints from medical quarters that he passed away are going viral with no reaction from the official quarters of Pyongyang. The news of his successor are equally attracting the world attention. Associated Press has brought them to a halt showcasing a train purportedly belonging to him in news.
However, state-run North Korean media outlets have remained silent spectators without giving away any clue even on Kim Jong-un’s whereabouts, if not his health condition or the news of his purported demise after a heart surgery failure. A U.S. official told CNN that Washington is looking into intelligence reports that Kim is in “grave danger”, while US President Donald Trump brushed aside the bad news as another fake news.
North Korea media reports
On its part, North Korean media has put out usual reports that Kim is sending diplomatic letters. One report on Wednesday said Kim had sent another message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, expressing gratitude for congratulating him on the anniversary of his late grandfather and national founder Kim Il-sung’s birthday.
Kim was last seen on April 11 presiding over a political bureau meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party reviewing measures against the coronavirus but what’s missing is his usual “field guidance” trips or public appearances for over two weeks in row, giving fuel to speculations that his health could be the reason behind. Whether it was coronavirus-related self-quarantine measure or his heart surgery has not been confirmed so far.
Another key appearance on the 108th birth anniversary of Kim Il-sung on April 15 has sparked row over his health as never in the past did he miss the trip to the mausoleum since taking office in late 2011. Even its arch rival South Korea has officially maintained that there is no truth in reports on Kim’s health.
Kim could be staying in a “local region” outside of Pyongyang due to coronavirus and running the government as usual, according to Cheong Wa Dae officials. Some media reports hinted that he might be in the eastern coastal town of Wonsan to avoid the coronavirus. Of course, taking it far, some news outlets have extrapolated it to claim that one of the doctors from China who performed on him was infected with the coronavirus and so did the North Korean leader too contracted the disease and is in self-quarantine as well as on hospital bed.
However, this is not the first time that Kim’s public health raised world glare, owing to his health. In the last nine years, his health remained the top agenda on world media circles but owing to the secretive state of affairs in the country, they failed to die. If China had sent health teams, it could be another “solid” reason for another to speculate his death.
For Kim, disappearance from the public is not new. Earlier this year, he re-emerged after 21 days of absence and in 2014, he disappeared from the public eye for about a month but reappeared limping and using cane. It was confirmed later that he had a cyst removed from his ankle.
Kim knows how to keep the world media covering constantly. It may not be long if he reappears in public, this time after the coronavirus calms down in his country.