By Matthew Bossons
Beijing and Seoul are refuting claims that Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK), or North Korea, is dealing with a health crisis.
Reuters reportedly spoke with an official at Chinas International Liaison Department who stated that they do not believe the 36-year-old leader is critically ill. South Koreas presidential Blue House has also said they have not seen any unusual signs coming from their northern neighbor.
The denials come after Seoul-based news platform Daily NK reported that Kim had undergone cardiovascular surgery on April 12. CNN reported earlier today that the leaders life is in grave danger.
CNNs story cited an unnamed American official and further noted that the US is monitoring reports on Kims health.
US Secretary of State Pompeo with Kim Jong Un. Image via Wikimedia
The intense speculation surround Kims wellbeing comes after he missed the celebration marking his grandfathers birthday on April 15. (Kims grandfather, Kim Il-sung, is the founder of the DPRK.) He was last seen four days prior to the birthday celebration at a government meeting, according to CNN.
Chinas foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang has said that Beijing is aware of the stories concerning Kims health status but is unaware of their origin, according to Reuters.
Its worth remembering that information concerning the DPRKs leadership is incredibly opaque and that outside observers have a mixed track record when it comes to predicting whats happening inside the country.
Prominent DPRK-watcher Chad OCarroll of Korea Risk Group noted on Twitter that there are many rumors circulating online concerning Kims health, some of which can be traced back as far as 2014, when the leader was out of the public eye for a 40-day period. OCarroll has also written online that he has been told by a source not to be surprised if Kim reappears soon as if nothing has happened.
[Cover image via Pixabay]
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