Kim Jong Un is feared to be in "grave danger" after a surgery, according to sources speaking with CNN. This report comes days after Un reportedly missed his grandfather's birthday celebration on April 15, which led to speculation about his well-being. (He was seen at a government just days prior, so missing this second event was particularly odd.) Furthermore, Jong's condition is under even more scrutiny thanks to another claim that was posted just after CNN's initial report.
MSNBC anchor Katy Tur reported that two US officials (one current and one former) told her that the infamous dictator was "brain dead." He was alleged to be in a coma after some sort of complication suffered during a cardiac surgery. She also tagged several colleauges and NBC News in the message. However, Tur deleted the tweet minutes later "out of an abundance of caution" and said she is now "waiting on more info." As of press time, she has not issued an update on the matter.
For posterity pic.twitter.com/bHnacWIcN7— l E T 17 (@Inevitable_ET) April 21, 2020
CNN has reported that they have reached out to the CIA, National Security Council and the State Department for comment on this report. Additionally, they have also reached out to South Korea for comment. The publication noted that it is particularly difficult to obtain information regarding Un because the nation tightly controls any intelligence surrounding the leader. It should also be noted that North Korea does not have freedom of the press and that this makes it even harder to obtain valid information regarding Un.
CNN breaking: The US is monitoring intelligence that North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un is in grave danger after a surgery, according to a US official with direct knowledge— Jon Passantino (@passantino) April 21, 2020
Un last disappeared from the public eye for about a month in 2014. In October 2014, he returned to the public eye while sporting a cane. Days after his return, South Korean intelligence reported that Un had a cyst removed from his ankle. During this period of time, there was much speculation regarding the North Korean leader's health. At the time, John Delury, a North Korea analyst at Yonsei University in Seoul, explained to The Guardian why North Korean officials may have wanted to keep Un's exact condition under wraps.
"When the leader is somehow physically incapacitated, they can't show him off as they like to," he said. "The regime is incredibly image-conscious. It choreographs everything, especially when it comes to the leader. Kim is a young guy, and you don't want to see a young guy in that condition."
Un became North Korea's leader upon the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in 2011, who suffered from a heart attack. Prior to his passing, Il also took a notable absence from public life in 2008. In 2008, Il was missing from North Korea's 60th-anniversary parade. His absence caused many to speculate about the state of his health. According to CNN, it was later revealed that he had suffered a stroke. Following his stroke, Il reportedly suffered a decline in his health before his passing in 2011.