Many have asked in the past few days whether North Korea leader Kim Jong-un has died following heart surgery at the beginning of the month. Unlike before when rumours have been immediately squashed by Kim Jong’s aides, this time there has been no response to the allegations, which has left people around the world unclear.
In a report by South Korean newspaper Daily NK, it has been suggested that the leader has “something wrong health-wise due to excessive drinking or overwork”.
The paper also believes that it is strange that no statement has been released by Kim Jong’s aides regarding his wellbeing.
A report in the newspaper said: “After a few days out of the public limelight, rumours began spreading of him being sick or worse.
“By instructing others to send diplomatic telegraphs or deliver birthday presents in his name, Kim may have wanted to add to the curiosity surrounding his health while simultaneously keeping both South Korea and the United States off-balance.
“This kind of behaviour fully utilises the closed and isolated nature of North Korea and, so far, it has been considerably successful.”
US Secretary of State Mr Pompeo expressed his concerns that the secretive state could have also been overrun with coronavirus or a famine.
He told Fox News on Wednesday: “We haven’t seen him. We don’t have any information to report today, we’re watching it closely.
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“There is a real risk that there will be a famine, a food shortage, inside of North Korea too.
“We’re watching each of those things closely, as they have a real impact on our mission set, which to ultimately denuclearise North Korea.”
Despite two summits in 2018 and 2019, the future of US-North Korea relations looks bleak.
Back in 2018, Kim Jong said he would be “open to dialogue” with the US to discuss exacting mutual threats.
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On June 12 that year, Trump became the first-ever president to meet with a North Korean leader.
They then both committed to signing an agreement to completely denuclearise the Korean Peninsula.
However, since then little progress has been made and North Korea has continued missile testing.
Meanwhile, South Korea has denied that Kim Jong is ill, or dead after rumours began following the leader missing his grandfathers birthday on April 15.
In the years of his reign, Kim Jong has never missed the event, which is one the biggest in the North Korean calendar.
The last time Kim Jong appeared in public was around April 11/12 as he inspected a pursuit assault plane group.
The already secretive state is currently in an even more extreme version of shutdown owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is extremely difficult to get concrete information about the goings-on of North Korea at the best of times, and for now it seems the state is remaining hushed on Kim Jong’s health.
An anonymous source originally told Daily NK that the leader’s health had worsened after “repeated visits to Mount Paektu”.
News agencies then ran with the story, and intelligence agencies in South Korea and US are now monitoring the claims.
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