Trump says report that Kim Jong-un is seriously ill is 'fake news'
Trump denies claims that Kim Jong-un is seriously ill and slams ‘fake news’ CNN for reporting that he was fighting for his life
- Trump said reports that North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un is ill were ‘incorrect’ during Thursday’s briefing
- He said the report was ‘fake news’ from CNN, which initially broke the story
- Trump said CNN may have used old documents to do their report
- It’s not clear with Trump contacted North Korea to confirm the reports
- Ultimately, Trump hopes Kim Jong-un is ‘OK’
- Reports said that Kim Jong-un was is ‘grave danger after undergoing surgery
- Kim unusually missed the celebration of his grandfather’s birthday on April 15 and was last publicly seen April 11
- South Korean officials dismissed reports that Kim Jong-un was seriously ill
President Trump said a report that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was in ‘grave danger’ after undergoing surgery was ‘fake news’ from CNN.
During a press briefing Thursday, Trump responded to a report from CNN earlier this week that claimed Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un was ill.
He called CNN’s reporting ‘incorrect’ and said they may have referenced old documents.
‘I think the report was done by a network that was incorrect. I’m hearing they used old documents. But that’s what I hear. I hear that the report was an incorrect report. Well I hope it was an incorrect report,’ he said.
‘It was a fake report done by CNN.’
President Trump (pictured) said Thursday that a report claiming Kim Jong-un is ill was ‘incorrect’
Trump admitted that he didn’t ‘want to say’ if he’d spoken to officials in Pyongyang, but wished Kim Jong-un well.
‘We have a good relationship with North Korea, as good as you can have,’ Trump said.
‘I mean, we have a good relationship with North Korea. I have a good relationship with Kim Jong-un and I hope he’s OK.And somebody would say ‘Oh, that’s terrible’. No, it’s not terrible, I hope he’s OK.’
When a reporter attempted to press Trump further, he became annoyed and refused to answer any follow up questions.
Pictured: President Donald Trump (left) and Kim Jong-un(right) stand on North Korean soil while walking to South Korea in the Demilitarized Zone
CNN first reported Kim Jong-un was in ‘grave danger’ earlier this week after he reportedly underwent surgery
‘No that’s enough. The problem is you don’t write the truth so, as far as I’m concerned I want to go to the next person,’ he snapped.
‘No, not CNN please. I told you: CNN is fake news, don’t talk to me,’ he added.
South Korean officials have since spoken out and said Kim Jong-un was not seriously sick.
Fears had been raised after an unnamed US official was quoted by CNN saying Washington was monitoring intelligence that Kim was in a critical condition.
Kim Jong-un was last seen at a government meeting on April 11, and was mysteriously absent from the celebration of his late grandfather Kim Il-Sung’s birthday on April 15.
It is unclear what would happen next if fears that Kim is ‘incapacitated or worse’ were to prove correct, but his sister Kim Yo-jong is among the senior politicians who could be in line to take control.
Analyst Cheong Seong-Chang at the private Sejong Institute in South Korea said Kim Yo-jong is already exercising significant influence within the government.
However, it is thought more likely that a top party leader would take over from Kim.
Given that two of the three members of the Politburo Standing Committee are older, its third member, Chairman of the Organization and Guidance Department Choe Ryong Hae, is seen as a likely candidate, NKNews reports.
If Kim Jong-un (left) were to fall ill, his sister Kim Yo-jong (right) could be in line to take over North Korea
The North has imposed even tighter restrictions than usual because of the coronavirus pandemic – although it claims to have no cases.
Daily NK, an outlet run mostly by North Korean defectors, said Kim had undergone a cardiovascular procedure and was recovering at a villa in North Phyongan province.
‘My understanding is that he had been struggling (with cardiovascular problems) since last August but it worsened after repeated visits to Mount Paektu,’ a source was quoted as saying, referring to the country’s sacred mountain.
South Korea’s presidential Blue House said: ‘We have no information to confirm regarding rumurs about Chairman Kim Jong-un’s health issue that have been reported by some media outlets.
‘Also, no unusual developments have been detected inside North Korea.’
The Blue House later said Kim was believed to be staying at an unspecified location outside of Pyongyang with some of his close confidants.
Neither Kim Jong-Un nor his sister Kim Yo Jong attended the celebration of their grandfather’s birth at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun. Kim Yo Jong (left) walks ahead of her brother Kim Jong-Un (right) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in (center) in Pyongyang in 2018
It said Kim appeared to be normally engaged with state affairs and there weren’t any unusual movements or emergency reactions from the North’s ruling party, military or Cabinet.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing was aware of reports about the health of Kim, but said it does not know their source, without commenting on whether it has any information about the situation.
A different US official, speaking to the Associated Press, said the White House was already aware of fears about Kim’s health before the latest reports surfaced on Monday night.
The official said the US had information that Kim may have undergone surgery and that complications may have rendered him ‘incapacitated or worse’.
Pictured: President Donald Trump (right) meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (left) on Sentosa Island, Singapore, in 2019
But they stressed that the US had nothing to confirm whether the surgery had taken place or that any complications had occurred.
‘We just don’t know,’ said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The White House and State Department had no comment.
The dictator’s health fears come after reports that North Korean authorities had admitted in public lectures that coronavirus was spreading in the country, contradicting the regime’s claims that there are no cases.
There was no indication that Kim had contracted the deadly respiratory disease, also known as COVID-19.
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