Clearing up widely circulated rumours of death, a top security adviser to the South’s President Moon Jae-in said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is “alive and well." “Our government position is firm,” said the adviser in an interview with CNN on Sunday. “Kim Jong Un is alive and well.”
Moon’s special adviser on national security said that the North Korean dictator had been staying in a resort town in the country’s east called Wonsan since April 13, adding that “No suspicious movements have so far been detected.”
Rumours and speculation on Kim Jong Un's heath blew up after he did not show up to the April 15 celebrations for the birthday of his late grandfather Kim Il Sung, the country's founder -- the most important day in the country’s political calendar.
Kim has stayed away from the public eye since presiding over a Workers’ Party politburo meeting on April 11. The next day, state media had reported him inspecting fighter jets at an air defence unit.
His absence set the rumour mills running as unconfirmed media reports surfaced all over the internet. While some claimed the leader had died, others said he was in a vegetative state.
Last week, in an official statement, South Korea's presidential office said: “We have nothing to confirm and no special movement has been detected inside North Korea as of now."
A digital media outlet that is mostly by North Korean defectors reported that Kim was recovering after undergoing a cardiovascular procedure earlier this month.
Daily NK said that the leader had needed urgent treatment due to heavy smoking, obesity and fatigue.
Following this report, CNN said that Washington was “monitoring intelligence” that Kim was in “grave danger” after undergoing surgery, quoting what it said was an anonymous US official.
The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, on Monday, reported that Kim had sent a message of thanks to workers on the giant Wonsan Kalma coastal tourism project.