S. Korea, sources say Kim Jong Un not gravely ill

Several sources tell Reuters that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is NOT gravely ill after media reports say he was in quote ‘grave danger.’ Late Monday (April 20) a South Korean media report said Kim was receiving treatment after a cardiovascular procedure. That fueled speculation given Kim’s absence from a key event this month marking the birthday of Kim Il Sung, his grandfather. But on Tuesday (April 21) two South Korean government sources told Reuters that reports about Kim’s health were not true. The South’s presidential Blue House said there were no unusual signs coming from Pyongyang. And a Chinese official with Beijing’s main body dealing with the North said Kim was not believed to be critically ill. It was the Seoul-based website Daily NK that came out with the initial report on Monday. They cited an unidentified source inside the North saying Kim was recovering in a villa on the east coast of the country. And CNN reported that Kim was in grave danger, citing an unnamed U.S. official. Yet an authoritative U.S. source familiar with internal American reporting on the North told Reuters he questioned the CNN report despite Kim’s public absence. Pyongyang fired multiple short-range missiles last week, which South Korean officials said were part of the Kim Il Sung celebration. Kim would usually observe these military events, but there was no report on the test at all from KCNA, North Korea’s state-run news agency. Reporting on North Korea’s leadership is notoriously difficult, given tight controls on information.

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