President Donald Trump said he has a "very good idea" about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's health, but declined to go into details during Monday's press conference at the White House. Speculation about Kim's health has been ongoing since he has not been seen in public since April 11 and was not at an April 15 event to mark his grandfather's birthday. South Korean officials have also claimed Kim is "alive and well," despite reports he is either brain dead or deceased.
"Kim Jong-un? I can’t tell you exactly. Yes, I do have a very good idea, but I can’t talk about it now," Trump told the media when asked about Kim's status, reports Politico. "I just wish him well... I hope he's fine. I do know how he's doing, relatively speaking. We will see. You will probably be hearing in the not-too-distant future."
Trump says he has "a very good idea" about the status of Kim Jong Un's health but he "can't talk about it right now"April 27, 2020
Back on Tuesday, CNN reported the U.S. was monitoring intelligence that Kim was in "grave danger" after a surgery. That report came after Daily NK, a South Korean website that covers North Korea, reported Kim had a cardiovascular system procedure on April 12 due to "excessive smoking, obesity, and overwork." A team of Chinese officials and doctors were sent to North Korea Thursday to "advise" on Kim's condition, sources told Reuters Saturday. On that same day, there was a report from China alleging Kim had died, although there has been no independent corroboration.
Trump called CNN's report "fake" and denied he was unwell. "I have a good relationship with Kim Jong-un and I hope he's OK," Trump said last week. Trump and Kim met for the first time in Singapore in June 2018, marking the first ever physical meeting between North Korea's leader and a sitting U.S. president. Trump and Kim also met in February 2019 in Vietnam and in June 2019 at the Korean Demilitarized Zone.
On Sunday, South Korean officials sought to clarify rumors about Kim's health. "Our government position is firm," Chung-in Moon, foreign policy adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, told Fox News. "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." On Monday, three government sources told the Washington Post both U.S. and South Korean officials are skeptical of the recent reports on Kim's health.
Other sources in South Korea told Fox News it was more likely that Kim was not dead and is recovering from a difficult surgery. They downplayed the report Kim was dead, which came from the Hong Kong Satellite Channel. "The rumors are mixing and merging, getting less reliable," one source said. "I don't see how we can go from rumors and speculation to fact and interpretation until the North Koreans themselves decide to share something about his condition."