Kim Jong-un makes comment amid health scare rumours
Some signs of life have emerged from the North Korean presidency after weeks of speculation on the health of the country’s leader Kim Jong-un.
Ever since a South Korean report earlier this month that Kim had to undergo heart surgery – followed by his conspicuous absence from some key events – Korea watchers have wondered about his fate.
There has been speculation he is sick or even dead.
But North Korean state media carried comments from the leader on Sunday in which he expressed his appreciation to workers who had built houses in the northern city of Samjiyon, according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap.
But Yonhap also noted the North Korean report did not disclose Kim’s location or include any images.
Meanwhile, foreign affairs advisor to the South Korean president Moon Chung appeared on Fox News to say Kim is alive and well.
He said Kim is in Wonsan, a city that has a compound where the North Korean leader regularly stays.
However, none of that information was verified out of North Korea. Nonetheless, Moon’s information about Wonsan would jibe with a weekend report from the North Korean monitoring website 38 North, which showed that a train believed to belong to Kim is parked in the city.
The website’s report on Saturday comes amid speculation about Kim’s ill health, after he missed public events, including his late grandfather’s birthday ceremony on April 15.
According to the Washington-based monitoring group, satellite imagery showed the 250-metre train parked at the Leadership Railway Station at Kim’s Wonsan Compound since at least April 21.
The train was not present on April 15, but was present on both April 21 and 23, 38 North reported, adding that the railway station is “reserved for use by the Kim family”.
Broadcaster CNN reported earlier this week that the US was looking into intelligence that Kim was in “grave danger” following surgery, however this was later denied by President Donald Trump.
South Korean officials in Seoul also disputed the reports, saying there have been no unusual signs from the North and Kim is presumed to be staying in Wonsan for unspecified reasons, news agency Yonhap reported on Sunday.