Coronavirus News Asia

Trump attacks ‘fake report’ on Kim’s ill-health


US President Donald Trump on Thursday rejected reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was ailing, criticizing his frequent nemesis CNN for running the story but failing to mention the South Korean news organization that first reported Kim had undergone “urgent” cardiovascular surgery.

“I think the report was incorrect, let me just put it that way,” Trump told reporters. “I’m hearing they used old documents.”

Trump declined to say if he had direct knowledge from North Korea that Kim was fine. He instead attacked cable news network CNN, with which the US leader has an acrimonious relationship.

“I think it was a fake report done by CNN,” Trump said at a daily briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, before refusing to take further questions from a journalist of the network.

CNN, quoting what it said was an anonymous US official, on Monday reported that Washington was “monitoring intelligence” that Kim was in “grave danger” after undergoing surgery.

Daily NK, an online media outlet run partly by North Korean defectors and in contact with sources in the North, separately had quoted one such unamed source as saying that Kim underwent a cardiovascular procedure on April 12 and was recovering at a villa in North Pyongan province.

It said that Kim, who is in his mid-30s, had needed urgent treatment due to heavy smoking, obesity and fatigue.

Daily NK on Thursday doubled down, publishing a second article quoting the same unnamed source with further description of the Hyangsan Hospital and the medical team there that it said had operated on Kim on April 12.


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