Amid Health Rumors, China Sends Team to Advise on Kim Jong Un

25 Avril, 2020, 08:36 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un stayed out of public sight Saturday, as the reclusive nation's tightly controlled media focused their coverage on the founding anniversary of its armed forces.

"Reuters was unable to immediately determine what the trip by the Chinese team signaled in terms of Kim's health", the report said.

It is unclear what the delegation was sent to accomplish.

Still, conflicting stories emerged this week following reports that the dictator was in critical condition after undergoing heart surgery.

President Trump said he didn't believe dispatches that Kim is gravely ill - but declined to say if he had been in contact with the North Korean leader.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said he believed the CNN report was incorrect. Similarly, at the time, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency cited a government official who said there was nothing unusual coming from North Korea that could suggest Kim was ill. The department is the main Chinese body dealing with neighbouring North Korea.

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Earlier, CNN cited an anonymous U.S. official who said Kim was in "grave danger" after an unspecified surgery.

On Friday, a South Korean source told Reuters their intelligence was that Kim was alive and would likely make an appearance soon. However, he added that "We have to separate all the risks that the news of his passing will bring and prepare countermeasures to reach scenario" while adding that "Until Kim Jong Un reappears as North Korea's executive of state affairs, we have to assume he has passed away and take necessary diplomatic measures".

The source didn't comment on Chinese involvement or Kim's condition.

North Korea's state media last reported on Kim's whereabouts when he presided over a meeting on April 11. Speculation about his health has been fanned by his heavy smoking, apparent weight gain since taking power and family history of cardiovascular problems. In 2014, Kim disappeared from state media for over a month.

Kim Jong-un did not attend the birthday celebrations of Kim Il-Sung, who died in 1994, his grandfather and founder of North Korea, on April 15.

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