Amid adverse reports on the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a top South Korean official has confirmed that the north Korean dictator is "alive and well".
Speculation regarding the death of Kim started soon after Daily NK, a Seoul-based website, reported that Kim had undergone a cardiovascular procedure on April 12. The outlet reported that Kim needed the procedure due to "excessive smoking, obesity, and overwork" and that he was now being treated in a villa in Hyangsan County.
Soon there were reports about the North Korean leader either being dead or lying in a vegetative state due to alleged botched-up heart surgery.
South Korean government firm on Kim Jong Un being alive
Amidst all the speculation, South Korea has not budged from its stand that Kim is very much alive.
In an interview with Fox News, Chung-in Moon, foreign policy adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said that his government's position is that the North Korean leader is not dead.
"Our government position is firm. Kim Jong Un is alive and well. He has been staying in the Wonsan area since April 13. No suspicious movements have so far been detected," he said.
The confirmation of Kim being alive comes soon after 38 North, a news website, reported that satellite images showing a train likely belonging to Kim was spotted at the Leadership Railway Station servicing his Wonsan compound since at least April 21.
Confusion prevails regarding Kim Jong Un's 'status'
Earlier, Vice Director of Hong Kong Satellite Television Shijian Xingzou, had claimed about Kim's death citing a "very solid source". The North Korean leader's last public outing was on April 11. His absence from the highly touted public birthday celebrations of Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea and his grandfather, on April 15, an event which he has never missed since coming to power in 2011, further fuelled the speculation of the tyrant being either gravel ill or dead.
Fox News quoted South Korean sources as stating that in all likelihood "Kim probably is not dead but likely experiencing a difficult recovery from surgery".
"The rumors are mixing and merging, getting less reliable. The prospect of Kim dying soon was a remote possibility. The more likely scenario, was that Kim was still recovering. I don't see how we can go from rumors and speculation to fact and interpretation until the North Koreans themselves decide to share something about his condition," the source added.