Over the last few weeks, speculation around the alleged death of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has been growing, after news outlets around the world began reporting that he was in “grave danger”.
The rumours began after the leader supposedly underwent heart surgery and wasn’t seen in public for almost three weeks. Now new images appear to confirm that Kim Jong-un is very much alive and well.
Following rumours of his death, new photos of Kim Jong-un have allegedly emerged, indicating that the North Korean leader is alive and well.
The photos, which were released by the state news agency KCNA, depict Kim attending the opening ceremony of a new fertiliser plant in North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, where he cut the ribbon. Whilst the images have not been independently verified, this is the first time the leader has been seen since April 11.
Speaking on the news, US President Donald Trump responded: “I’d rather not comment on it yet. We’ll have something to say about it at the appropriate time.”
The rumours first began after South Korean-based website the Daily NK reported that Kim had required urgent heart surgery due to heavy smoking, obesity, and fatigue. Around this time, Kim also failed to turn up to the celebration of his grandfather’s birthday (also the country’s founder) on April 15, which is the most important national holiday in North Korea, known as Day of the Sun.
Following this, media outlets in both Hong Kong and Japan began to report that the leader was in a vegetative state following botched heart surgery. Satellite imagery of a train parked at Kim’s Wonsan compound also sparked rumours that the leader was hiding from coronavirus.
However, North Korea has claimed that they’ve had no cases of coronavirus – an assertion which has been challenged by global experts. In a press conference, General Robert Abrams, commander of US Forces Korea, described: “It is a closed-off nation, so we can’t say emphatically that they have cases, but we’re fairly certain they do.”
For more on our investigation into the rumours surrounding Kim Jong-un’s death, head here.