South Korea, Japan avoid comments on Kim’s health reports

Seoul, Tokyo, Apr 21 (efe-epa).- The governments of South Korea and Japan on Tuesday avoided commenting on recent media reports about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un allegedly in a critical state after a heart surgery.

An article published by Daily NK, a Seoul based media run by North Korean deserters with contacts in the neighboring country, claimed that Kim had recently undergone a heart surgery.

A Unification Ministry spokesperson, when contacted by EFE regarding the recent reports, said there was “no official comment” from the government.

The North Korean leader apparently missed a ritualistic visit on Apr.15 to the mausoleum where the remains of his grandfather Kim Il-sung are kept.

Kim traditionally visits the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun every year on Apr. 15, the birth anniversary of his grandfather and a national holiday, to pay tribute to the country’s founder.

The event is widely covered by the North Korean state media and propaganda machinery.

The Daily NK article says that the reasons for the leader having undergone a heart operation could be smoking, obesity and overexertion.

The ministry spokesperson also said at the moment South Korea was also not going to comment on another news by the US broadcaster CNN that the United States was confirming reports that Kim Jong-un was in a critical state after surgery.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government also avoided making comments on the health of the North Korean dictator, and said it was still collecting and analyzing data from that country.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, during his routine press conference, admitted to being aware of the news circulating about Kim’s health, but underlined that they were studying all information from North Korea closely.

Suga added that they would continue to collect and analyze information, and closely collaborate with countries such as the US. EFE-EPA


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