South Korean sources play down rumors that Kim Jong-un is in “grave danger”

South Korean sources play down rumors that Kim Jong-un is in “grave danger”

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency declared that the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is not seriously ill, citing a government official.

Speculation about the North Korean leader’s deteriorating health condition was raised after he missed the celebration of the state founder Kim Il Sung on 15 April, the country’s most important national day.

A separate statement by Daily NK, a Seoul-based news website, said that  Kim Jong-un is now recovering from heart surgery in Pyongyang, adding that his condition is improving.

A source within the Chinese Communist Party’s International Liaison Department also told Reuters the Kim is not believed to be critically ill.

Regional sources appear to contradict with a recent CNN article which claimed that the North Korean dictator was in a fragile health condition following a cardiovascular system procedure on 12 April.

CNN quoted Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation and former CIA deputy division chief for North Korea, regarding the rumors urs over Mr Kim’s health.

“There have been a number of recent rumor about Kim’s health (smoking, heart, and brain),” the network quoted Mr Klingner as saying.

“If Kim is hospitalized, it would explain why he wasn’t present on the important April 15th celebrations.

“But, over the years, there have been a number of false health rumors about Kim Jong-un, or his father. We’ll have to wait and see.”

The South Korean government declared that no unusual activity had been detected in the North. 

Kang Min-seok, the spokesman of Seoul’s Blue House, South Korea’s executive building, said: “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.”

George Costa

George Costa is a reporter specialized in defence and security systems. He covers international defence and security issues, such as international conflicts, WMD proliferation, and cybersecurity, as well as news reporting on developments in the global defence community.