Donald Trump says he knows how Kim Jong-un is doing, more information likely to come in ‘not too distant future’

Robert Delaney

US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he has a “good idea” about the condition of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, whose absence in the country’s media recently has sparked speculation about his health.

“I do know how he’s doing, relatively speaking,” Trump said in a regular White House press briefing, without specifying where his information is coming from. “You’ll probably be hearing in the not too distant future.”

Kim’s absence from the April 15 celebrations for the birthday of his grandfather Kim Il-sung, the North’s founder – the most important day in the country’s political calendar – has sparked conjecture about whether the current leader is incapacitated. Kim has not made a public appearance since presiding over a Workers’ Party politburo meeting on April 11.

Trump, who has held two summits with Kim since 2018, has bet that his relationship with the leader would convince him to abandon a nuclear weapons programme pursued by Pyongyang. The second summit, held in Hanoi in February 2019, ended without any concrete agreement.

What would happen to North Korea if Kim Jong-un died?

The US leader has dismissed reports that Kim’s health was in danger.

“I think the report was incorrect,” Trump said at a daily White House briefing last week, adding that he had understood the report to be based on “old documents.”

Daily NK, a Seoul-based website, reported last week that Kim was recovering after undergoing a cardiovascular procedure on April 12. It cited an anonymous source in North Korea. The state-controlled media in North Korea has been silent on Kim’s whereabouts.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is “alive and well”, a top security adviser to South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said.

“Our government position is firm,” said Moon’s special adviser on national security Moon Chung-in, in an interview with CNN on Sunday. “Kim Jong-un is alive and well.”

 

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