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Kim Jong-Un in 'grave danger' after heart surgery, says US media; South Korea asks for detailed probe

Agencies | Updated on: Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 08:40 AM IST

Kim Jong-Un |
Kim Jong-Un |
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North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un is in ‘grave danger’ following a heart surgery, a CNN report has revealed.

Kim recently missed the celebration of his grandfather, which raised speculation about his well-being the report added.

Interestingly, North Korea is the only country to not involve itself in the war against the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. No case has been reported from there, although South Korea has in excess of 10,000 cases in the country

Meanwhile, tThe South Korean government on Tuesday was looking into U.S. media reports saying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was in fragile condition after surgery.

Officials from South Korea’s Unification Ministry and National Intelligence Service said they couldn’t immediately confirm the report. CNN cited an anonymous U.S. official who said Kim was in “grave danger” after an unspecified surgery.

The Unification Ministry, which deals with inter-Korean affairs, said it couldn’t confirm another report by Daily NK, which cited anonymous sources to report that Kim was recovering from heart surgery in the capital Pyongyang and that his condition was improving.

Kim's absences from official state media often spark speculation and rumors about his health. North Korea has no free press and is often a black hole when it comes to the country's leadership. Analysts are heavily reliant on scanning state media dispatches and watching propaganda videos for any semblance of a clue.

Kim last appeared in North Korean state media on April 11. April 15 -- North Korea's most important holiday, the anniversary of the birth of the country's founding father, Kim Il Sung -- came and went without any official mention of Kim Jong Un's movements.

Experts are unsure of what to make of Kim's absence from any festivities celebrating his grandfather. When North Korean leaders have not shown up to these important celebrations in the past, it has portended major developments. But it has also turned out to be nothing.

"There have been a number of recent rumours about Kim's health (smoking, heart, and brain). If Kim is hospitalized, it would explain why he wasn't present on the important April 15th celebrations," said Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation and former CIA deputy division chief for North Korea. "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." Kim Jong Il's absence from a parade celebrating North Korea's 60th anniversary in 2008 was followed by rumblings that he was in poor health. It was later revealed he had a stroke, after which his health continued to decline until his death in 2011.

Kim Jong Un disappeared from the public eye for more than a month in 2014, which also prompted speculation about his health. He returned sporting a cane, and days later South Korean intelligence said that he had a cyst removed from his ankle.

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Published on: Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 08:40 AM IST