Kim Jong-un in healthier times
Kim Jong-un

Speculation has ben mounting in recent days over the health of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un after reports in an online media platform that he had undergone heart surgery.

This issue first came to the fore when Kim missed an important political event last week – a celebration commemorating the birth of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung on April 15th after appearing in public four days earlier.

Following Kim’s absence from the memorial to his grandfather, the Daily NK, carried a piece claiming the so-called ‘Dear Leader’ had had cardiovascular surgery earlier in April, and that he was now in post-op recovery in North Phyogan in the extreme north-west of the isolated state on the border with China.

Kim is known to be a heavy smoker of considerable weight, neither conducive to good heart health.

US sources cited by CNN claimed to be watching developments, whilst intelligence sources and media in South Korea seemed to support each other: the former claiming “We have nothing to confirm and no special movement has been detected inside North Korea as of now,” with the latter, Yonhap News Agency, also referring to government officials denying any claims of illness on the part of Kim.

Accurate information is notoriously hard to confirm from North Korean sources, with perhaps the most famous example surrounding the death of Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il who, after after 17 years in charge of the nation had reportedly been dead for several days in 2011,  before any foreign news agency was aware.


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