South Korean officials have been forced to deny that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is gravely ill following suspected heart surgery, after the 36-year-old missed a string of key state events last week including the annual celebration of the nation’s founder.
Speculation about Kim Jong-un’s health was triggered when, for the first time, he failed to attend the 108th anniversary event celebrating state founder Kim Il-sung on April 15, 2020.
But the spokesman for South Korea’s president was forced to deny the reports after CNN reported that the U.S. was ‘monitoring intelligence’ that Kim Jong-un is in grave danger following surgery.
Kim Jong-un was last seen in state media on April 11, 2020, chairing a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party about tackling coronavirus, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
He also skipped North Korea’s latest weapons test, an event that he has keenly presided over previously, as well as a major parliamentary session.
Various rumors about the state of the leader’s health have emerged from South Korean lawmakers, including claims that he underwent heart or ankle surgery to rumors he may be infected with coronavirus, Representative Yoon Sang-hyun said.