Trump wishes North Korean leader well

US President says he wishes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un well following speculation that he is in declining health.

Elad Benari ,

Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump
Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he wishes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un well amid speculation that he is in declining health.

"These are reports that came out and we don’t know," Trump told reporters, according to The Hill. "I’ve had a very good relationship with him. I can only say this: I wish him well, because if he is in the kind of condition that the reports say, that the news is saying, that’s a very serious condition, as you know."

"I've said it and I’ve said it many times. If somebody else were in this position, we would’ve been right now at war with North Korea," Trump added.

The comments follow reports late on Monday that Kim was in grave condition following an undisclosed surgery earlier in the month.

Kim last appeared in North Korean state media on April 11 but missed April 15, the celebration of his grandfather's birthday, which raised speculation about his well-being

South Korea's government said earlier on Tuesday there was no indication of any issues from North Korea, sparking uncertainty about the reclusive Kim's status.

National security adviser Robert O’Brien said Tuesday morning that the US is "keeping a close eye" on reports about Kim's health, but would not elaborate on reports about his condition.

“We’re monitoring these reports very closely,” O’Brien told said on Fox News, adding that North Korea “is a very closed society. There’s not a free press there. They’re parsimonious with the information they provide about many things, including the health of Kim Jong Un.”

The speculation about Kim’s health amid a prolonged hiatus in disarmament talks between North Korea and the United States.

Kim and Trump engaged in months of mutual insults and threats of devastation in 2017, sending tensions soaring before a diplomatic rapprochement the following year.

The pair have met three times since June 2018, most recently in Vietnam in February of 2019, but with little progress towards denuclearization.

Since those talks broke down, North Korea has conducted several tests of ballistic missiles.

Pyongyang set a unilateral end-2019 deadline for Washington to offer fresh concessions. In his New Year’s message after his ultimatum to the US expired, the North Korean leader said his country would continue developing nuclear programs unless the US gave up its hostile approach.