Uncertainty Surrounding the Health of Kim Jong Un


President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, shaking hands with North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, after their meeting last June.

By Alexa Soroka, Senior Editor

The health of North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, remains a mystery following several contradictory reports from U.S. intelligence and South Korean officials.

Earlier this April, U.S. intelligence reported that Kim Jong Un was in “grave danger” following cardiovascular surgery gone sour.

The now 36-year-old ruler, who is severely overweight and a heavy smoker, also failed to attend the birthday celebration of his late grandfather, state founder Kim Il Sung, for the first time on April 15th.

In fact, he has not been shown in the media spotlight for two weeks and counting.

The mayhem escalated when Katy Tur, MSNBC reporter, released a tweet on April 20th stating “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is brain dead, according to two US officials. He recently had cardiac surgery and slipped into a coma, according to one US current and one former US official.”

Tur deleted the tweet shortly after and quickly apologized. She continues to face backlash for the message.

To add to suspicions, China, a longtime North Korean ally, sent a medical team consisting of doctors and senior diplomats to North Korea.

A Japanese magazine, Shukan Gendai, reported that Kim is in a “vegetative state” after his surgery.

To top it all off, the vice director of Hong Kong Satellite Television said on Friday that the North Korean leader is dead, never retracting the statement.

In an attempt to ease controversy, the leader of the Korean Friendship Association Alejandro Cao de ­Benos took to Twitter, saying “Information about the serious state of health of our Marshal Kim Jong Un is false and malicious.”

However, he refused to reveal where he received this information when asked for confirmation by Bloomberg News.

South Korean officials reported that they thought Kim to be conducting “normal activities” in a rural part of the country and that they detected no abnormal activity by the regime.

This claim may align with the recent identification, via satellite imagery, of Kim Jung Un’s train being in Wonsan at his luxurious estate. The train is parked in a location exclusive to the Kim family.

Moon Chung-in, a top foreign policy adviser to the South Korean President, told CNN that “Kim Jong Un is alive and well. He has been staying in the Wonsan area since April 13. No suspicious movements have so far been detected.”

A similar occurrence took place in 2014 when Kim disappeared from the media for six weeks. This prompted speculation that he had possibly suffered an ankle injury or was even overthrown in a coup. When he returned to the media, he was shown using a cane.

The credibility of Korean sources is limited, due to the functionality of their government, especially its lack of free press.

According to CNN, “North Korea…is often a black hole when it comes to the country’s leadership.”