South Korea, China cast doubt on reports North Korean leader Kim gravely ill

Reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is seriously ill after heart surgery are not true, officials in South Korea have said, China also doubted the reports.

Headlines that Kim Jong-un was “gravely ill”, “brain-dead” or “recovering from an operation” were always going to be impossible to verify.

Daily NK, a Seoul-based speciality website, reported late on Monday, citing one unnamed source in North Korea, that Kim was recovering after undergoing the procedure on April 12. The North Korean leader is believed to be about 36.

CNN cited a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the matter as saying Washington was “monitoring intelligence” that Kim was in grave danger after surgery. Bloomberg quoted an unnamed U.S. official as saying the White House was told that Kim took a turn for the worse after the surgery.

However, two South Korean government officials rejected the CNN report without elaborating on whether Kim had undergone surgery. The presidential Blue House said there were no unusual signs coming from the reclusive, nuclear-capable state.

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