North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un seems to be alive even after he was reported dead following a botched heart operation by Hong Kong-backed news channel HKSTV on Saturday.
But in a new development to the news, a South Korean official has said Kim Jong-un is ‘alive, well and staying at holiday resort’.
Chung-in Moon, South Korea president Moon Jae-in’s foreign policy advisor, has moved to quash the reported rumours of his death, saying the North Korea Supreme Leader is instead staying at his holiday resort on the North Korean coast.
“Our government position is firm…..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.” Chung-in Moon told Fox News.
The despot has not been seen publicly since April 11 when he led a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party committee of policy makers, North Korean state media said.
But Chung-in Moon’s comments appear to have poured cold water on the astonishing claims that he had passed away.
North Korean defectors agree, saying it is hard to believe the information would be leaked by his trusted aides.
Joo Sung-ha, a North Korean defector turned journalist, said in a Facebook post reported by the New York Times that it was reasonable to believe Kim had health problems, but that he had zero trust in reports why the leader has faced a medical emergency. ‘The health of the Kim family is the secret among secrets,’ he said.
Thae Yong-ho, a former North Korean diplomat who also defected, said it was hard to believe any reliable information about Kim had been leaked by his most trusted aids.
He said while he worked in the country no one was aware of Kim Jong-il’s death until 2011, when they gathered in an auditorium and saw an announcer dressed in black.
North Korea has never said who would succeed Kim if he died, but analysts believe his sister Kim Yo-Jong would likely take over until his children grow up.
The dictator’s 250-metre-long train has been seen near his Wonsan holiday complex on satellite images as recently as April 23, according to news website 38North.
It was parked at a station reserved for the Kim family. The website said although the dictator’s whereabouts remain unknown, the trains position suggests he has visited the resort.