Kim ‘thanks workers’ amid global speculation about his health

Seoul, Apr 27 (efe-epa).- North Korea’s leader has sent a message of thanks today to workers building a tourist zone, according to state media, amid swirling rumors about the state of his health and his absence from public view.

Kim Jong-un sent a brief thank you through the country’s main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, to those working on the tourism project on the Kalma Peninsula, near the east coast city of Wonsan, where satellite images have shown that his special train is parked.

The article begins by saying that Kim “has sent his appreciation to the workers who devoted themselves to building the Wonsan-Kalma tourist zone,” one of the country’s biggest development projects of the Pyongyang regime, which before the pandemic was expected to open around April.

The article then lists and thanks a number of people charged with overseeing the construction, logistics or health care of the workers, but does not go into any more detail about the North Korean leader.

North Korean media has reported in recent days that Kim has sent diplomatic letters or gifts.

However, they have not reported any activity by Kim on the ground or published a current image of him since Apr. 12, when they reported a meeting of the single-party political bureau held the prior evening and chaired by the dictator.

At that meeting, the leader named his sister Kim Yo-jong a substitute member of the all-important executive body.

Added to this is the unusual absence of Kim from several important events, including the festivities of Apr. 15, the country’s main holiday and birthday of late state founder and his grandfather, Kim Il-sung.

In this context, marked by the coronavirus pandemic, and given the traditional opacity of the North Korean regime, various media have published information, citing anonymous sources, saying that the health status of the leader is fragile and may be due to a heart operation.

However, the South Korean government has ruled out the validity of this information and insists that it has not detected any unusual activity in North Korea, while satellite images analyzed by specialist website 38 North located the leader’s special train in Wonsan.

In turn, Moon Chung-in, special security adviser to South Korean president Moon Jae-in, said on Fox News on Sunday that Kim is “alive and well,” while Newsweek magazine said Washington has not detected any military activity out of the ordinary. EFE-EPA


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