An exclusive report by Reuters revealed that China has quickly dispatched a team to North Korea including medical experts to advise on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
This comes as the current health condition of Kim remains shrouded in mystery, with rumors all over the internet the past few days about his health issues.
The team left Beijing for North Korea on Thursday and is being led by a senior official from the Chinese Communist Party’s International Liaison Department, according to the report.
A South Korean source told Reuters on Friday that their intelligence was that Kim was alive and planning to reappear to public soon.
Still, conflicting stories emerged this week following reports that the dictator was in critical condition after undergoing heart surgery.
Earlier reports Friday said Kim may have left the capital of Pyongyang to recover, recuperating in an undisclosed location on North Korea’s eastern coast to avoid catching the deadly coronavirus.
President Trump said he didn’t believe dispatches that Kim is gravely ill — but declined to say if he had been in contact with the North Korean leader.
“I think the report was incorrect,” the president said during Thursday’s daily White House briefing, adding that he had heard it was based on “old documents.”
South Korean government officials and a Chinese official with the Liaison Department challenged subsequent reports suggesting that Kim was in grave danger after surgery. South Korean officials said they had detected no signs of unusual activity in North Korea.
North Korea is one of the world’s most isolated and secretive countries, and the health of its leaders is treated as a matter of state security.
Kim, believed to be 36, has disappeared from coverage in North Korean state media before. In 2014, he vanished for more than a month and North Korean state TV later showed him walking with a limp. Speculation about his health has been fanned by his heavy smoking, apparent weight gain since taking power and family history of cardiovascular problems, Reuters reported.
China and North Korea have been allies for more than half a century. Beijing is a key provider of food and fuel to Kim Jung-Il’s regime, and it is heavily invested in preventing a destabilizing regime collapse that would send North Korean refugees flooding across its northeastern border, according to the New times.