Controversy centering Kim Jong Un’s health condition

Mustafa Ali Noor

A number of news outlets in the West, quoting the unanimous source is claiming DPR Korean (North Korea) leader Kim Jong Un is in “vegetable state” following a “failed cardiovascular” surgery.

Reuters reported, “the weekly Shukan Gendai reported Friday that a Chinese medic sent to North Korea as part of a team to treat Kim believed a delay in a simple procedure left the leader severely ill”.

New York Post reported, “North Korean media hasn’t mentioned Kim’s health or whereabouts, even though reports by other media have sparked international speculation about his well-being.

“The Chinese expert told the magazine that Kim clutched his chest and fell to the ground on a visit to the countryside earlier this month. A doctor accompanying Kim performed CPR and took him to a nearby hospital.

Kim, believed to be 36, needed a stent procedure, which calls for placing a tube into a congested blood vessel to allow blood to keep flowing to the heart, according to Shukan Gendai.

“The hashtag #KimJongUndead was trending on Twitter but without any proof of the leader’s death”.

The Washington Examiner in its report said, “on Monday, the Daily NK, a South Korean-based website, reported that Kim was recovering from a “cardiovascular surgical procedure.” CNN also reported late Monday night that the U.S. intelligence community is investigating reports that he was in “grave danger” after the surgery.

“Kim was absent from the public on Friday while the country’s state-run media celebrated the 88th anniversary of the country’s armed forces. South Korean officials have said there is no evidence that Kim is unwell, although intelligence services in both South Korea and the United States have said they are monitoring the reports”.

The Guardian in its report said, “China has sent a team to North Korea including medical experts to check on Kim Jong-un, according to three people familiar with the situation.

“The trip by the Chinese doctors and officials comes amid conflicting reports about the health of the North Korean ruler. It was not immediately clear what the trip by the Chinese team signaled in terms of Kim’s health.

“A delegation led by a senior member of the Chinese Communist party’s international liaison department left Beijing for North Korea on Thursday, two of the people told Reuters”.

The Korean Herald in its report said, “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.

“They have carried no report of Kim’s public activity since April 11, sparking speculation that the 36-year-old might be critically ill.

“Pyongyang‘s propaganda outlets instead hyped the 88th anniversary of the birth of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army (KPRA) that falls on April 25.

“The official Korean Central News Agency detailed the history of the KPRA that dates back to the anti-Japanese people‘s guerrilla army formed by Kim Il-sung, the late grandfather of the current leader. Korea was under Japan’s brutal colonial rule at that time.

“In an editorial, the Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the North‘s ruling party, stressed Kim Jong-un’s call for bolstering the military power and urged the further strengthening of the entire army‘s support for his leadership”.

According to the UPI report, “Kim Jong Un may have left the capital of Pyongyang and could be sheltering in an undisclosed location on North Korea’s eastern coast.

South Korean news service Newsis reported on Friday, Kim Jong Un may have been evacuated to the coastal city of Wonsan, Kangwon Province, where he may have been overseeing construction of a major resort.

Newsis said movement by Kim Jong Un’s dedicated vehicles suggested he many have been evacuated from Pyongyang.

A special train for his use was stationed in Wonsan, but the DPRK leader’s private plane remained in Pyongyang, the report said.

Speculation in South Korean media suggested Kim Jong Un was staying out of the capital city as a precaution against catching coronavirus.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said that reports suggesting North Korea’s leader was incapacitated following a cardiovascular surgery were incorrect.

“I think the report was incorrect, let me just put it that way,” Trump said when asked at a White House press briefing if he knew of Kim Jong Un’s condition. “I hear the report was an incorrect report. I hope it was an incorrect report,” he added, without providing further details.

Earlier in the week, Trump said that he had a “very good relationship” with the young leader and wished Kim “good luck.”

“I’ve had a very good relationship with him. I wouldn’t — I can only say this, I wish him well, because if he is in the kind of condition that the reports say, that’s a very serious condition, as you know,” Trump said on Tuesday during a White House press briefing. “But I wish him well”.

When the international media are basically running speculative reports on the health condition of Kim Jong Un, we have further investigated the matter and tried to get a clear picture from a number of sources. We have asked them, what is the reality?

A vice director of HKSTV Hong Kong Satellite Television, a Beijing-backed broadcast network in Hong Kong, claimed that Kim was dead, citing a “very solid source.” Her post on the Chinese messaging app Weibo has been shared widely on social media, according to a report in the International Business Times.

Other unconfirmed reports, attributed to senior party sources in Beijing, said an operation to insert a stent went wrong because the surgeon’s hands were shaking so badly.

The vice director of the television channel is also a niece of a Chinese foreign minister, meaning she may have access to some real information source.

While these claims cannot be verified independently, the timing of it certainly makes one curious as now China has sent in a medical team.

Here is the point when anyone would get confused. When President Donald Trump has categorically said, the rumor about the death of Kim Jong Un was “fake”, a niece of the Chinese foreign minister and the boss of a television channel firmly said, he is dead.

Most importantly, Kim Jong Un did not appear on April 25 during the military anniversary of the country. Again, if he does not show up, it may not be confirming the death rumor. Instead, we all can believe, he is staying in isolation due to coronavirus.

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