- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2020

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is reportedly in danger of dying after having a heart operation.

CNN reported Monday evening that Mr. Kim, 36, was in “grave danger,” citing “a US official with direct knowledge” of intelligence reports on the matter.

A second American official told the network that while it’s difficult to assess how severe Mr. Kim’s health woes might be, concerns about them are credible.

Mr. Kim was last seen publicly April 11 and in the interim fell the major holiday celebrating the birthday of his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea’s communist regime.

The North Koreans fired off missiles on that birthday but Mr. Kim was not shown by the country’s Korean Central News Agency supervising the launches, as usually happens.



However, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported Tuesday that officials in Seoul have seen nothing concerning.

“We have nothing to confirm and there has been no unusual activity detected in North Korea,” Kang Min-seok, a spokesman for the presidential Blue House, told reporters in a text message.

There was no immediate official U.S. comment.

Daily NK, a South Korean website mostly operated by defectors from the North, reported that Mr. Kim had a cardiovascular procedure April 12.

Mr. Kim’s health had been declining in recent months, owing to his obesity, heavy smoking and busy work schedule, Daily NK reported.

“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 told Daily NK, referring to the country’s sacred mountain.

The financial impact was not hypothetical though Tuesday, as South Korea’s markets and currency both took hits in the wake of reports on Mr. Kim’s health.

The won fell by 1.54% in early trading against the U.S. dollar and South Korea’s two major stock markets declined by 2.62% and 3.47%

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