Even as the world awaits an official update from North Korea regarding the health of its leader Kim Jong-un, there are conflicting reports over his health in world media. CNN broke the story saying the North Korean leader was gravely ill, citing a US source. However, Reuters reported later, citing a Chinese party source, that it did not appear like Kim was seriously ill.
Also, South Korea said there were no unusual signs from Pyongyang about the leader's health. Meanwhile, Twitter was awash with claims over Kim's serious ill-health, some even suggesting that he contracted coronavirus during the heart surgery. A tweet that went viral claimed the North Korean leader contracted coronavirus from a doctor performing the surgery.
Daily NK, an online newspaper based in South Korea that focuses on North Korea, reported that Kim 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," and is now receiving treatment in a villa in Hyangsan County following his procedure.
Most of the doctors called in from Pyongyang to treat Kim returned to the capital a week later following his recovery, the site reported. However, there is no official confirmation from the authorities at North Korea.
Tweet claims Kim Jong-un contracted coronavirus
Soon after the reports of Kim Jong-un being unwell went viral, a tweet was posted suggesting that he has contracted the fatal virus from one of the doctors operating him. In a tweet, citing multiple US officials, OANN anchor Jack Posobiec wrote: "BREAKING: Multiple US officials tell @OANN that Kim Jong Un caught COVID19 from a Chinese doctor flown in to help with his heart valve surgery. He appears to be in stable condition for now."
The tweet was retweeted over 300,000 times within hours of being posted. The reports, if true, would be nothing short of irony in the light of the facts that Kim Jong-Un has reportedly denied North Korea having even a single case of the global pandemic.
Kim, whose last public appearance was on April 11, was reportedly absent from the 'Day of the Sun' celebrations, a ceremony marked annually to celebrate his grandfather and the country's founder Kim Il Sung, on April 15.
South Korea denies Kim Jong-un being unwell
On Tuesday, CNN, citing an unnamed US official with direct knowledge, reported that Washington is "monitoring intelligence" that Kim is in "grave danger after a surgery." However, South Korea disputed the claims of North Korean leader undergoing a major heart surgery and being 'gravely ill'.
According to New York Times Kang Min-seok, spokesman for South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said in a statement: "Nothing to confirm about the Daily NK report. South Korea has so far detected no special signs inside North Korea. It also quoted a member of the intelligence committee of the South's National Assembly who said that the government's main spy agency also questioned the authenticity of the report.
Quoting an unnamed senior government official in SeoulSouth Korea's national news agency Yonhap said the Daily NK's report was "not true." Notably, Kim's grandfather Kim Il Sung and father, Kim Jong-il had succumbed to the complications arising out of heart condition.