Daily US Times: The US intelligence suggests that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is in grave danger after undergoing a previous surgery. CNN reported it quoting a US official with direct knowledge.
Another source familiar with the intelligence told the network that the US has been closely monitoring reports on Kim’s health.
On April 15, Kim missed his grandfather’s birthday celebration, which raised speculation about his well-being. He had been seen four days before that at a government meeting.
The concerns about Kim’s health are credible but the severity is hard to assess, another US official told.
Daily NK, a South Korean online newspaper that focuses on North Korea, reported that Kim reportedly received a cardiovascular system procedure on April 12.
According to the news site, Kim received the cardiovascular system procedure because of “excessive smoking, obesity, and overwork”.
It says the leader is now receiving treatment in a villa in Hyangsan County following his procedure.
Daily NK reports that as Kim is getting improved from the surgery, most of the medical team treating him returned to Pyongyang on April 19 and only part of them remained to oversee his recovery situation.
This is not independently verified.
Top South Korean leaders are very much aware of reports about Kim’s health status but cannot independently verify details published by Daily NK, a CNN source told.
The source told that Kim’s issues related to weight and smoking are well known but made clear South Korea is waiting for more information.
Blue House, South Korea’s Presidential residence issued a statement which says that they have nothing to confirm on reports about Kim’s health and that “no unusual signs” have been detected inside North Korea.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry and Unification Ministry have given a “no comment.”
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Council also declined to comment on Kim’s surgery issue.
US officials have been reaching out to North Korean experts- particularly those who have studied the Kim regime — to talk about contingency planning, but the situation remains murky as gathering intelligence out of North Korea is notoriously difficult — one of the most challenging targets for US intelligence.
North Korea strictly controls any information surrounding its leader, who is treated almost like a deity within the country. His absences from official state media often spark rumors and speculations about his health.
The country has no free press and is often a black hole when it comes to the country’s leadership.