North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is reportedly in “grave danger” after undergoing a cardiovascular procedure earlier this month.
“The US is monitoring intelligence that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, is in grave danger after a surgery, according to a US official with direct knowledge,” CNN reported. “Kim recently missed the celebration of his grandfather’s birthday on April 15, which raised speculation about his well-being. He had been seen four days before that at a government meeting.”
Reuters reported that Daily NK, a publication run by North Korean defectors, indicated that Kim’s health “has deteriorated in recent months due to heavy smoking, obesity and overwork.”
Reuters reported that Kim was “receiving treatment after undergoing a cardiovascular procedure early this month.”
Bloomberg News reported on the Daily NK:
The Daily NK, a Seoul-based website that gathers information from informants inside the isolated nation, reported Tuesday that Kim underwent a “cardiovascular surgical procedure” and was now mostly recovered. It was impossible to immediately verify the report, which the Daily NK said was based on one person inside North Korea.
The Daily NK is part of a group of non-for-profit agencies affiliated with the South Korean Unification Ministry, and has occasionally been contacted by Seoul officials for information. The outlet’s backers include the U.S.’s National Endowment for Democracy, which awarded it $400,000 last year to “raise awareness and understanding of the conditions in North Korea by disseminating accurate, timely and relevant news and information about the country.”
North Korea is the most isolated country in the world from the stand point of restricting outside information from entering the country and letting information leave the country.
“Kim Jong Un disappeared from the public eye for more than a month in 2014, which also prompted speculation about his health,” CNN added. “He returned sporting a cane, and days later South Korean intelligence said that he had a cyst removed from his ankle.”
John Delury, a professor of international relations at Yonsei University in Seoul, told CNN, “It’s easy to be wrong on this one.”
Last week, North Korea launched multiple short-range anti-ship cruise missiles into the sea and Sukhoi jets fired air-to-surface missiles on Tuesday as part of military exercises,” Reuters reported. “The missile tests were done on the eve of a national holiday in North Korea to celebrate the birthday of Kim Il Sung, the founder of the country and grandfather of the current leader, Kim Jong Un.”
The news comes as North Korea claims that it does not have any cases of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.
“Experts say North Korea’s reluctance to admit major outbreaks of disease, its wrecked medical infrastructure and its extreme sensitivity to any potential threat to Kim Jong Un’s authoritarian rule means that Pyongyang is likely handling the current coronavirus pandemic in the same manner,” TIME reported. “This has led to widespread skepticism over the nation’s claim to have zero infections.”
Choi Jung Hun, an alleged doctor, told TIME: “It’s a lie. Year after year, and in every season, diverse infectious diseases repeatedly occur but North Korea says there isn’t any outbreak.”