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Kim Jong Un hasn’t been seen in public for over two weeks. Reports that he is seriously ill — or even dead — continue to proliferate. And intelligence agencies across the globe are struggling to get any verifiable information out of the hermit kingdom.
And yet, South Korean officials say Kim Jong Un is “alive and well” and staying at the coastal resort of Wonsan, where Kim’s family has a compound that includes nine guesthouses, a shooting range, and a dock for Kim’s mega yacht.
The claim was made by Moon Chung In, the top foreign policy adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae In during an interview with CNN on Sunday.
"Our government position is firm," Moon said. “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.”
On Monday, South Korea’s minister for unification backed up the claim, saying an extensive intelligence assessment has detected “no unusual movements” in North Korea. Kim Yeon Chul added that South Korea could now "confidently say" that nothing unusual was taking place in the North.
The suspicion that Kim is staying in Wonsan was given added weight by the 38North website, which closely tracks activity inside North Korea, when it published satellite images showing Kim’s train parked in the eastern city since at least April 21.
“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,” it said.
Geng Shuang, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, said on Monday that his government has no additional information to offer, saying it is unclear where the reports of Kim’s ill health came from.
This article first appeared on www.vice.com
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