US intelligence agencies are closely monitoring a report that Kim Jong Un is in "grave danger" following surgery. According to the South Korea based Daily NK, the North Korean leader underwent a heart procedure on April 12th due to his "excessive smoking, obesity, and overwork."
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Speculation that Kim's health was in question kicked off after he was absent from a celebration of his grandfather's birthday on April 15th. While the US calls these reports "credible," officials admitted to CNN that they are hard to assess.
“We’re monitoring these reports very closely,” National security adviser Robert O’Brien said on Tuesday. “They’re parsimonious with the information that they provide about many things, including the health of Kim Jong Un, so we’re monitoring those developments closely.”
South Korean sources told the news site that they cannot independently verify the claims either.
“It’s impossible to know the latest details about the senior leadership in North Korea,” said Cheon Seong-whun, a former South Korean national security official. “The lesson we can take away is that we never know when, what will occur, and how, in North Korea.”
Get more details on The Wall Street Journal.