South Korea, China debunk Kim Jong Un's illness reports

South Korea, China debunk Kim Jong Un's illness reports

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was/is not gravely ill, a Chinese and two South Korean government sources said on Tuesday.

An official of the Chinese Communist Party's International Liaison Department said there was no indication Kim was ill.

The International Liaison Department is the main Chinese body dealing with neighbouring North Korea.

U.S. media had reported late on Monday that the Supreme Leader was in grave danger after undergoing a cardiovascular surgery.

Kim was reportedly receiving treatment, a South Korean media report said.

He had triggered speculations about his health following his absence from a key anniversary event this month.

This was the event marking the anniversary of the birthday of North Korea's founding father and Kim's grandfather, Kim Il Sung, on April 15.

But South Korea's presidential Blue House said there are no unusual signs coming from the North.

Daily NK, a Seoul-based speciality website, cited unidentified sources inside the isolated state saying Kim is recovering at a villa in the Mount Kumgang resort county of Hyangsan on the east coast after undergoing the cardiovascular procedure at a hospital on April 12.

CNN reported that Kim was in "grave danger".

An authoritative U.S. source familiar with internal U.S. government reporting on North Korea questioned the CNN report that Kim is seriously ill, even though he has been out of the public eye for an extended period.

On April 12, North Korean state media reported that Kim Jong Un had visited an airbase and observed drills by fighter jets and attack aircraft.

Two days later North Korea launched multiple short-range anti-ship cruise missiles into the sea and Sukhoi jets fired air-to-surface missiles as part of military exercises, South Korea's military said.

The missile tests were done on the eve of a national holiday in North Korea to celebrate the birthday of Kim Il Sung.

Reporting from inside North Korea is notoriously difficult, especially on matters concerning the country's leadership, given tight controls on information.

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