Kim Jong-un Letter Offered By North Korean Media As Proof He’s Alive
Following rumours of his death, a state-run newspaper has reported that Kim Jong-un has sent a thank you letter to builders working on a tourism project at a coastal resort.
On Monday, April 27, local outlets reported that Kim had written the message to builders in North Korea’s Wonsan, with the Korean Central Broadcasting Station having released a similar report.
It’s believed Kim has been staying in Wonsan since April 13, following reports that his ‘special train’ had been parked within the region.
As per Yonhap News Agency, the Rodong Sinmun, the North’s main newspaper, said:
Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un has sent his appreciation to the workers who devoted themselves to building the Wonsan-Kalma tourist zone.
Reports of this letter follow speculation that Kim might have been in poor health, in a vegetative state or even dead after he missed an important ceremony on April 15, with his sister Kim Yo-jong expected to take control of the country after speculation of his death mounted.
The annual ceremony – known as ‘Day of the Sun’ – marks the 108th birthday of his grandfather – and founder of the secretive ‘hermit kingdom’ – Kim Il-sung.
Kim has reportedly not once missed this ceremony – regarded as the North Korean equivalent of Christmas – since he took office in 2011.
While the dictator was nowhere to be seen, a source from North Korea told Seoul-based news source Daily NK, which is operated by defectors, that Kim had undergone heart surgery on April 12.
Kim’s absence therefore prompted numerous unverified rumours about his health. As previously reported by CNN, the US is currently monitoring intelligence from a US official that Kim is ‘in grave danger after a surgery’.
On Monday April 27, a separate US official told CNN that, although concerns about Kim’s health are credible, the seriousness of the situation is difficult to assess.
North Korea is a notoriously secretive country, with information about Kim and his welfare being tightly controlled by state media.
Kim was last spotted in state media on April 11 heading up a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party, which called for stricter measures against the coronavirus.
Although there have been reports of Kim sending diplomatic letters, as well as gifts to citizens, for over two weeks there have been no state media reports on his ‘field guidance’ trips or photographs of his activities.
South Korean officials have dismissed speculations about Kim’s supposed poor health, stating that nothing unusual has been going on in the North and that Kim is thought to be staying in Wonsan, a place he has frequented since childhood.
Leading foreign policy adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Moon Chung-in, told CNN:
Our government position is firm. 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.
This intelligence was corroborated by a report by US monitoring website 38 North, which published satellite imagery appearing to showed Kim’s train parked at a station in ‘his Wonsan compound since at least April 21’.
This report states:
The train’s presence does not prove the whereabouts of the North Korean leader or indicate anything about his health, but it does lend weight to reports that Kim is staying at an elite area on the country’s eastern coast.
The tourist area of Wonsan-Kalma is known to be one of Kim’s most valued pet construction projects, with the leader having sent a similar message of thanks to workers back in February.
Kim has reportedly tried develop North Korea’s tourism industry in an bid to support the country’s struggling economy.
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