Multiple reports claimed that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is either in a vegetative state or has passed away, but South Korean presidential adviser Moon Chung-in said Kim was “alive and well.”
Rumors of Kim Jong Un’s death circulated following a viral social media post from HKSTV Hong Kong Satellite Television Vice director Shijian Xingzou that cited a “very solid source.” Shijian’s post reportedly gained traction on Weibo, where she has over 15 million followers, reports International Business Times.
Meanwhile, a separate report from a Japanese media outlet claims that the North Korean leader is in a “vegetative state” after “botched” heart surgery on Friday.
Reuters earlier reported that China had sent a team of medical experts to look into Kim’s health.
According to that medical team, the leader became severely ill due to a delay in a simple procedure, Shukan Gendai reported.
In the report, a Chinese expert purportedly noted that earlier this month, Kim collapsed to the ground while clutching his chest during a visit to the countryside. After a doctor performed CPR on him, he was rushed to a nearby hospital. He has later prescribed a stent procedure, which involved inserting a tube into a congested blood vessel to allow for continued blood flow to the heart.
Seoul-based website Daily NK reported earlier this week that the cardiovascular procedure took place on April 12, citing an unnamed source in North Korea, which noted that Kim was then “recovering.”
While there is still no proof of Kim Jong Un’s death, the hashtag #KimJongUndead has immediately become a trending topic on Twitter.
To dispel rumors about Kim’s well-being, North Korean media published a letter reportedly written by the Hermit Kingdom’s leader congratulating South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Freedom Day on Monday.
CNN reported that it had no way of independently verifying the authenticity of the letter.
Kim, believed to be 36, presided over a meeting on April 11, according to North Korea’s state media. That was the last time the platform reported on his whereabouts.
It was not reported if he attended an important anniversary in North Korea on April 15, which marked the birthday of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung.
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