Kim Jong Un UPDATE: US spy plane spots him taking a walk in Wonsan amid death rumours - Report

Citing South Korean news service Newsis, UPI reports that Kim might have been evacuated to Wonsan amid coronavirus scare.

Untraceable for more than a fortnight now, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been spotted taking a stroll in Wonsan, the port city and naval base located in Kangwon Province, according to multiple media reports.

Kim Jong-un
Kim Jong-un IANS

Following CNN report of Kim Jong Un being gravely ill after a major heart surgery, there have been speculations regarding the health of the North Korean dictator. Reports of Kim being dead have also been in circulation in the media and social media.

Kim Jon Un fled to Wonsan to escape coronavirus

Citing Newsis, a South Korean news service, UPI reported that Kim might have been evacuated to Wonsan, where he may have been providing field guidance at a resort construction site.

After getting inputs from Seoul's national intelligence sources, Newsis reported that based on the movement observed among "dedicated vehicles" for Kim suggested that the North Korean leader may have been evacuated from Pyongyang. 'A special train for Kim's use was stationed in Wonsan, but Kim's private plane remained in Pyongyang,' the report said further.

"With many members of the Korean Workers' Party placed in quarantine after being suspected of infected with the fatal virus, Kim might have been evacuated to Wonsan for safety purposes," Newsis reported.

Did US spy plane spot Kim Jong Un ?

Dong-A Ilbo reported that the North Korean leader, who took refuge in Wonsan amid COVID-19 threat, was spotted taking a walk on his own, by the US authorities.

The publication quoted an unnamed US government official as saying: "It has been identified that Kim Jong Un had been staying in Wonsan during the entire last week. He was seen to be walking on his own between April 15 and 20."

The publication further said that the 'U.S. authorities seem to have identified such information based on the analysis of radars and images captured by reconnaissance planes.'

A few days ago, reports revealed that Aircraft Spots, an aviation tracker, had spotted U.S. surveillance aircraft flying over South Korea. Believed to be U.S. Air Force's RC-135W Rivet Joint, the spy plane was spotted in skies above Seoul and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province. In a tweet, the tracker without mentioning the exact time of the operation, stated that this type of aircraft was last spotted on Monday, which was followed by surveillance operations by the air force's E-8C and navy's P-3C.

Dong-A Ilbo said that the information provided by the US authorities is based on the analysis of radars and images captured by reconnaissance planes.

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump quashed the reports that said Kim was gravely ill. "I think the report was incorrect," the president said during daily White House briefing, adding that he had heard it was based on "old documents."

When will Kim Jong Un make public appearance?

It is not for the first time that Kim has remained absent from the public platform. In 2014, he remained underground for almost six weeks, before making a comeback with a cane. It was later reported that Kim had undergone a surgery to remove the cyst from his ankle.

Speculations are rife in the north Korean media that their Supreme leader will resume his public duties later this week. Kim is also expected to make an appearance in the events related to North Korea's Military Foundation Day, which falls on Saturday, but may be observed few days later, Newsis reported.

The state media also reported that Kim had sent diplomatic letters to the Syrian President Bashar Assad and Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel. He also sent "birthday spreads" to two North Korean officials and a new centenarian, reported the state media.