Home World Kim Jong-un dead: Donald Trump breaks silence on North Korea despot's health...

Kim Jong-un dead: Donald Trump breaks silence on North Korea despot's health rumours

Kim Jong Un is in good health. Never underestimate him!

US President Donald Trump

Kim‘s disappearance from the public eye in April led to claims that he was in a vegetative state after botched heart surgery, or even dead. However, Mr Trump‘s tweet sought to scotch the rumours. He said: “Kim Jong Un is in good health. Never underestimate him!”

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Mr Trump has met Kim on three separate occasions, and boasted earlier this year of the “beautiful letter” the Supreme Leader had sent him.

The US President”s post took Twitter users by surprise, with one commenting: “What the actual ****?”

There is no indication as to what prompted Mr Trump’s message, or whether he is in possesion of any specific information.

However, it comes a day after the release of excerpts of letters between Kim and Trump in a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward, in which the North Korea’s leader addresses the US leader as “excellency” and two exchanged other expressions of flattery.


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Kim Jong-un is in (Image: GETTY)

Donald Trump’s tweet (Image: Twitter)

Mr Trump has in the past talked of his fondness for the portly 36-year-old, and when questioned about his health before, said he hoped he was well.

Kim Jong-un was absent from the public eye for more than a fortnight before reemerging at the opeing of a fertiliser factory in Pyong Yang – although sceptics pointed out there was no way to prove when the footage was shot.

Kim has been the country’s leader since 2011, taking charge after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il.

He is well-known for his love of rich food, and is also thought to have spent vast sums of money on imported Hennessy’s Cognac.

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Speaking before Mr Trump’s tweet, Ankit Panda, author of a new book about Kim entitled Kim Jong-un and the Bomb: Survival and Deterrence in North Korea, told Express.co.uk: “Diagnosing anyone’s health status from afar is a perilous task, even for medical specialists, but it’s well known – and frankly obvious from a glance – that Kim Jong Un is not the perfect picture of health for someone his age.

READ MORE: North Korea horror: Soldiers collapse in agony and others flee

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump seemed to hit it off when they met (Image: GETTY)

“South Korean and US intelligence agencies, in particular, pay close attention to this.

“The recent rounds of rumors about his death have been baseless, but remind us that one of the persistent sources of risk today in North Korea is that Kim is prematurely incapacitated before a proper succession is in place.”

Mr Panda, who is the Stanton Senior Fellow in the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Nuclear Policy Program, added: “That sets up the sort of intra-system power struggle that has been known to take place in other monolithic authoritarian systems.

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“In the end, we’ll likely be left with very little good information about Kim Jong Un’s vital statistics and overall health status, but it behooves us to take the matter seriously.”

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Kim Jong-un is known to be a smoker (Image: Reuters)

The rumours about Kim’s health resurfaced last month when a former South Korean diplomat suggested he was in a coma.

In response, Roy Calley, who chronicled his visits to the Hermit State during his book Look With Your Eyes and Tell The World, told Express.co.uk: “I honestly believe he’s dead but you just can’t tell with that country.

“I could be in Pyongyang now and be none the wiser.”

Ruth-Ann Monti, author of North Korea in 100 Facts, which was published last year, told Express.co.uk last month she had no reason to believe Kim was dead – but added: “Kim is seriously unhealthy! He’s quitwe overweight, smokes, drinks, and keeps a very rich diet. 

Kim Jong-un’s family tree (Image: Expess)

“This is certainly not a healthy lifestyle!”

Reports about Kim’s health even led some to conclude his sister, Kim Yo-jong was being groomed as his successor – although there are no firm indications that this is the case.

An analysis published on the 38 North website in May considering whether a succession plan was in place should Kim Jong-un die, said: “If the leader were merely incapacitated, the immediate, temporary structure would likely be led by a small group of family and close aides, who would make decisions along established lines, maintaining the status quo.

“This small collective would carry out the day-to-day affairs of the regime, not unlike the group that supported Kim Jong-il after his stroke in 2008.

Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong is sometimes suggested as a possible successor (Image: GETTY)

“If Kim Jong-un dies, however, the situation would become much more precarious.

“An initial leadership group would likely be set up that includes those above, as well as members from the Party, military and internal security.

“Whether someone like Kim Yo-jong would sit atop this structure or would assume the role of Supreme Leader is unclear.

“It is also possible that some male member of the Kim family could be put forth as a figurehead for legitimacy purposes, instead of Kim Yo-jong.”

Source:Daily Express :: World Feed

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