South Korean delegates are emphasizing that they have detected no unusual movements in North Korea and are cautioning against reports that North Korean chief Kim Jong Un may be in poor health or is being isolated due to coronavirus concerns.
At a closed-door forum Sunday, South Korea’s Unification Minister Kim Yeon-Chul, who supervises engagement with the North, said the government has the intelligence capabilities to say with confidence that there were no signs of anything uncommon.
Rumors and speculation over the North Korean chief’s health started after he failed to make a public appearance at a crucial state holiday on April 15, and has since remained out of sight.
South Korea media last week posted that Kim could have undergone cardiovascular surgery or was in isolation to avoid exposure to the coronavirus.
Unification Minister Kim cast doubt on the report of surgery, arguing that the hospital mentioned did not have the capabilities for such an operation.
North Korea has stated it has no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, but some international specialists have cast doubt on that claim.
South Korea’s Prez Moon Jae-in promised Monday to step up cooperation to help the North prevent the spread of the coronavirus but made no mention of Kim’s health or whereabouts.