South Korea Says North Korea’s Absent Kim May Be Trying To Avoid COVID-19

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South Korea Says Absent Kim Jong Un May Be Trying To Avoid COVID-19

Last time media reported on Kim Jong Un’s whereabouts was when he presided a meet on April 11 (File)

Seoul:

Fear of catching the coronavirus may have saved North Korean chief Kim Jong Un away from state ceremonies for a key vacation in mid-April, a South Korean minister stated on Tuesday as hypothesis swirled over Kim’s whereabouts and well being.

Under Kim Jong Un, North Korea has expanded its arsenal of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, and with no apparent successor, any change in management within the authoritarian nation would elevate issues about instability that might affect different North Asian international locations and the United States.

The hypothesis about Kim’s well being erupted after his unprecedented absence from ceremonies marking the April 15 start anniversary of his grandfather and founding father of the nation, Kim Il Sung.

South Korea’s Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul, who oversees engagement with the North, stated it was believable that Kim determined towards attending due to the coronavirus, given the stringent steps his authorities has taken to go off an outbreak.

“It is true that he had never missed the anniversary for Kim Il Sung’s birthday since he took power, but many anniversary events including celebrations and a banquet had been cancelled because of coronavirus concerns,” the unification minister advised a parliamentary listening to.

“I don’t think that’s particularly unusual given the current (coronavirus) situation,” the minister stated, although North Korea has stated it has no confirmed instances of the coronavirus.

The South Korean minister famous that there have been not less than two cases since mid-January when Kim Jong Un had been unsighted for almost 20 days.

The final time official media within the secretive North Korean state reported on Kim’s whereabouts was when he presided over a gathering on April 11, however there have been near-daily studies of him sending letters and diplomatic messages.

South Korean officers emphasise they’ve detected no uncommon actions in North Korea and have cautioned towards studies that Kim could also be ailing.

The unification minister described studies that Kim had undergone a coronary heart process, and {that a} Chinese medical group had travelled to North Korea, as “fake news.”

Citing three folks acquainted with the scenario, Reuters reported on Saturday that China had dispatched a group to North Korea together with medical consultants to advise on Kim Jong Un, although it was unclear what the journey signalled by way of Kim’s well being.

US President Donald Trump stated on Monday he has a good suggestion how Kim Jong Un is doing and hopes he’s effective, however wouldn’t elaborate.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated he was conscious of studies on Kim’s well being and he was paying shut consideration to developments.

Train Watching

North Korea had cancelled some massive occasions, and imposed a border lockdown and quarantine measures in an effort to stop an outbreak of the coronavirus.

But if Kim Jong Un is hiding out attributable to fears surrounding COVID-19, it will “puncture a hole in the state media narrative of how this crisis has been perfectly managed”, stated Chad O’Carroll, CEO of Korea Risk Group, which displays North Korea.

“If he is merely trying to avoid infection, it should theoretically be very easy to release photos or videos of a healthy-looking Kim,” he stated.

An authoritative supply acquainted with US intelligence reporting stated on Monday it was solely potential Kim had disappeared from public view to keep away from publicity to COVID-19 and the sighting of his presidential prepare within the coastal resort space of Wonsan did counsel he could also be there or have been there lately.

But the supply stated that since there was no authoritative backing for such a conclusion, US businesses had been additionally nonetheless contemplating the likelihood Kim could be ailing, even significantly.

38 North, a Washington-based North Korea monitoring undertaking, stated on Saturday that satellite tv for pc pictures from final week confirmed a particular prepare that was in all probability Kim’s at Wonsan, lending weight to studies he had been spending time within the resort space.

Thae Yong-ho, a former North Korean diplomat who defected to South Korea in 2016, stated that the prepare may very well be a deception tactic utilized by North Korea to masks Kim’s actions.

“North Korea always perceives that US spy satellites are monitoring the North and is prepared for it,” he stated in a publish on Facebook.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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