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Kim Jong Un’s health questioned

The North Korean government claims this photo shows Kim Jong Un at a Politburo meeting on April 11. Associated Press/Korean Central News Agency

Kim Jong Un’s health questioned

South Korea on Tuesday said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continues to handle state affairs, dousing rumors that heart surgery left him in fragile condition. A South Korean government spokesman said officials have not detected any unusual development inside North Korea that would signal a transfer of power.

What sparked the rumors? The 36-year-old communist dictator, who rarely misses state events, was absent from a ceremony on Wednesday marking the birthday of Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founder and his grandfather. The Seoul-based news site Daily NK reported that Kim underwent heart surgery on April 12 on the country’s east coast. South Korea later acknowledged that Kim is staying outside of Pyongyang with some of his close confidants.

Dig deeper: Read Jamie Dean’s 2014 report on similar speculations that swirled in North Korea after Kim made scant public appearances for six weeks.

Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD’s Africa reporter and deputy global desk chief. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University–Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria.


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