With growing rumors and uncertainty surrounding the health and whereabouts of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a state-run newspaper tried to prove the dictator is hale and hearty by reporting that he has sent a thank-you letter to builders in a seaside resort.
The Rodong Sinmun outlet claimed Monday that Kim penned the message to builders working on a tourism project in Wonsan, where South Korea believes the leader has been staying since April 13, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
“Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un has sent his appreciation to the workers who devoted themselves to building the Wonsan-Kalma tourist zone,” the Rodong Sinmun reported.
The Korean Central Broadcasting Station made a similar report, according to Yonhap.
The reports are the latest about North Korea’s ‘Rocket man’, who has been the subject of rampant speculation in recent days that he had died, was in a vegetative state, or — as South Korea says — is absolutely fine.
The US monitoring website 38 North has reported that satellite imagery showed what appeared to be Kim’s personal train parked at a station in “his Wonsan compound since at least April 21.”
“The train’s presence does not prove the whereabouts of the North Korean leader or indicate anything about his health, but it does lend weight to reports that Kim is staying at an elite area on the country’s eastern coast,” it reported.
Questions about the reclusive dictator’s health flared after he missed an April 15 commemoration of the 108th birthday of his grandfather, the Hermit Kingdom’s founder, Kim Il Sung.
Meanwhile, other unverified rumors are that Kim may have been injured during a recent missile test and that he went into hiding after one of his bodyguards was suspected to have contracted COVID-19, according to the Mirror.
Unnamed source in China told the South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo that Kim skipped the birthday bash for his late grandfather because of his guard’s possible infection, the UK news outlet reported.
Another South Korean outlet, Dong-A Ilbo, quoted an unnamed US official as saying Kim left Pyongyang for Wonsan to avoid the virus, the Mirror reported.
Moon Chung-in, a special security adviser to South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, said Sunday in an interview with Fox News that Kim is “alive and well.”
The Post reported that Kim was last seen at a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party to discuss the coronavirus threat on April 11. He is claimed to have undergone heart surgery the following day.
President Trump has indicated he believes reports that Kim is in failing health are “fake.” Source: The Post