South Korean officials Eyed on North Korean Leader Kim’s Whereabouts; Some Claimed Virus Contracted

With sudden disappearance from the national media, many international media across the globe have been wondering North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un’s whereabouts while some South Korean officials claimed that the leader might be ill or being isolated because of the coronavirus contraction.

Meanwhile, it was reported from the South Korean government that it had not detected unusual movements in North Korea. Kim Jong Un, who is now believed to be 36, had also earlier vanished from state media for more than a month in 2014 but a state TV later showed him walking with a limp.

Kim Jong Un’s Whereabouts?

On late Sunday, April 26, 2020, South Korea’s Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul, who oversees engagement with the North, clarified that the government found no evidence of any unusual movement from North Korea. The minister also ruled out the claims that the North’s leader might have undergone cardiovascular surgery or was in isolation to avoid exposure to the new coronavirus in a hospital.

The abrupt vanished of Kim Jong Un, after his last appearance on April 11, 2020, had invited rumors and speculation that the leader might be contracted from the virus since he even did not make a public appearance at a key state holiday on April 15. Yoon Sang-Hyun, chairman of the foreign and unification committee in South Korea’s National Assembly, told a gathering of experts on Monday, April 27, 2020, that Kim Jong Un’s absence from the public eye suggested, “he has not been working as normally”.

Citing no report of Kim Jung’s whereabouts until Monday, Yoon’s claimed, “There has not been any report showing he’s making policy decisions as usual since April 11, which leads us to assume that he is either sick or being isolated because of coronavirus concerns.”

Speculations about Kim in Wonsan

Kim Jong Un was reportedly seen conveying a message of gratitude to workers for building a tourist resort in Wonsan, the place where some South Korean media reported Kim seemed to be staying. Moon Chung-in, a foreign policy adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said in comments to news outlets in the United States, “Our government position is firm,” that “Kim Jong Un is alive and well. He has been staying in the Wonsan area since April 13. No suspicious movements have so far been detected.”

According to 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea monitoring project, satellite images captured last week showed a special train possibly owned by Kim Jong had stationed at Wonsan. However, a spokeswoman for the Unification Ministry said on Monday that she could not clarify or confirm the news reports of Kim staying in Wonsan.

Sources reported that China dispatched a team including medical experts to North Korea last week to advise on Kim Jong Un. Nonetheless, experts explained that the leader had disappeared from state media before but to extract accurate information of his whereabouts in North Korea was an uphill task.

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