Seoul: North Korean leader absent for fear of “corona”


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South Korean Unification Minister Kim Yoon Chul said yesterday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is in good health, explaining that he may have missed the occasion of the birthday of his grandfather, North Korea’s founder, on April 15, to avoid being infected with the Corona virus and not because he is sick.

In remarks to the South Korean parliament, Chol said that in light of the strict measures taken by Pyongyang to prevent the spread of Corona virus, Kim’s absence from the celebrations is not unnatural, adding that the North Korean leader has not been absent from the memory of his grandfather Kim Il-sung since he took office Authority, but many events were canceled, including celebrations and a banquet on the occasion of the anniversary due to concerns about Corona, and he explained that Kim had been out of sight for at least 20 days, twice since mid-January.

Mystery prevails over the fate of North Korean President Kim Jong-un, amid speculation that he will die.

There was speculation about Kim’s health after his absence from the ceremony marking the birthday of his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea, on April 15.

The last time North Koreas official media spoke about Kim’s whereabouts was when she reported on him as he chaired a meeting on April 11.

China has sent a team to North Korea that includes health experts to advise on Kim’s health, in light of reports of his deteriorating health after heart surgery.

US President Donald Trump downplayed reports of Kim’s illness and told reporters: “I think the report is not true,” but he declined to say whether he was in contact with North Korean officials.

Chung In-moon, the South Korean president’s foreign policy adviser, told US Fox News that the North Korean leader was “alive and in good shape.” He added, “He was resident in Wonsan region since April 13th, and no suspicious movements have been detected yet.”

Alejandro Cao de Penos, president of the Korean Friendship Association, also denied current news reports about Kim’s death. Satellite imagery, reviewed by a Washington-based North Korean research center, showed a special train, likely belonging to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at a resort within the country this week.

In its report, “38 North” Center stated that the train was stopped at the station in Winson on April 21 and 23, adding that the station is dedicated to the Kim family. “The presence of the train does not establish the whereabouts of the North Korean leader and does not indicate anything about his health, but it reinforces reports that Kim is staying in an elite area on the east coast of the country,” the center added.

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