Speculation Kim Jong-un is in 'vegetative state'

·2-min read

Speculation surrounding the condition of Kim Jong-un’s health continues, with conflicting reports suggesting the North Korean dictator is either fine, brain dead, or possibly even dead.

The reclusive nation’s leader has not been seen in public for weeks, and concerns for his health were raised earlier this week after he was absent from anniversary celebrations for the birth of North Korea’s founder and Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sun, on April 15.

Daily NK, a Seoul-based website, reported earlier this week that Kim, 36, was recovering after undergoing a cardiovascular procedure on April 12, citing one unnamed source in North Korea.

South Korean government officials and a Chinese official with the Liaison Department challenged subsequent reports suggesting that Kim was in grave danger after surgery.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a military drill at undisclosed location in North Korea in late March
Reports suggest North Korea's Kim Jong-un is severely ill following a procedure. Source: AP

No signs of unusual activity have been detected in North Korea, according to South Korean officials.

Reuters reports overnight doctors from China were dispatched to North Korea, according to three people who were “familiar with the situation”.

But conflicting reports have emerged on the real state of Kim’s health.

A Japanese publication, Shukan Gendai, reported Kim was in a vegetative state.

The vice director of HKSTV, a Hong Kong-based satellite television network claimed Kim was dead and according to the International Business Times, told her Weibo followers the allegations come from a “very solid source”.

However, a South Korean source told Reuters on Friday their intelligence was that Kim was alive and would likely make an appearance soon.

The person said he did not have any comment on Kim's current condition or any Chinese involvement.

South Korea and China have played down speculation that Kim Jong-un is seriously ill, after a Seoul-based website reported that the North Korean leader had undergone heart surgery, it was reported 21 April.  Source: EPA
South Korea and China have played down speculation that Kim Jong-un is seriously ill. Source: EPA

Given North Korea is one of the most secretive countries on earth, proving the condition of the dictator has been difficult, as the health of its leaders is treated as a matter of state security, Reuters reports, noting the press agency has not been able to independently confirm any details on Kim's whereabouts or condition.

When Kim’s father, Kim Jung-Il, suffered a stroke in 2008, Chinese doctors and French physicians were involved in his treatment.

Kim inherited the leadership after his father died of heart complications in 2011, and the rumours of his poor health have spotlighted his potential successor, his sister Kim Yo Jong.

State media in North Korea is yet to report anything on Jong-un’s condition International Business Times reports.

With Reuters.

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