Pompeo: We haven’t seen Kim

Secretary of State says US is watching reports about the health of North Korean leader.

Elad Benari ,

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un
Reuters

The United States has caught no sight of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and is watching reports about his health, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

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

Last week it was reported that Kim is in grave danger after undergoing heart surgery. The report was denied by a South Korean official.

Subsequent reports claimed the North Korean leader is in a vegetative state.

On Sunday, a South Korean official told CNN that Kim is "alive and well" and has been staying in the Wonsan area of North Korea since April 13.

“We haven’t seen him. We don’t have any information to report today, we’re watching it closely,” Pompeo told Fox News on Wednesday after being asked about conflicting reports about Kim’s health.

Pompeo said the United States was also monitoring the situation more broadly in North Korea, which borders China, given the risk presented by the coronavirus.

“There is a real risk that there will be a famine, a food shortage, inside of North Korea too,” he added. “We’re watching each of those things closely, as they have a real impact on our mission set, which to ultimately denuclearize North Korea.”

Officials in South Korea and the United States said on Tuesday that Kim may be staying at North Korea’s coastal resort of Wonsan to avoid exposure to the new coronavirus, and have expressed skepticism about media reports that he had some kind of serious illness.

US President Donald Trump hinted on Monday that he knows what is happening with the North Korean leader, but would not provide details.

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.



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