North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is in “grave danger” after undergoing surgery on April 12, CNN’s chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, reported. Stelter said that CNN journalist Jim Sciutto was live on the phone with another CNN anchor, Chris Cuomo, when “The banner, citing a U.S. source: “NORTH KOREAN LEADER KIM JONG UN IN ‘GRAVE DANGER’ AFTER SURGERY” appeared on the screen.
Heavy has reached out to the U.S. State Department for further information.
The United States is currently monitoring the North Korean leader’s health, according to CNN’s source, an official with direct knowledge. Getting accurate updates from the country is extremely difficult due to the political situation, and it’s considered one of the most challenging information-gathering environments for U.S. intelligence, CNN reported.
North Korea is especially tight-lipped about its leader, who is viewed very highly in the country. Most of the information that government analysts accumulate from North Korea comes from state media dispatches and propaganda videos.
This story is still developing.
There Has Been Speculation About the North Korean Leader’s Health Since He Missed a Recent Event
Sciutto, CNN’s chief national security correspondent, told Cuomo that the U.S. is monitoring the situation around Kim and “We should note that Kim, he recently missed the celebration of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung’s, birthday on April 15. This raised speculation about his wellbeing, about his health.”
Kim was seen four days earlier, but his recent absence has raised questions about his health. Sciutto reported that the U.S. has discovered that the North Korean leader had surgery and is now “in grave danger” after complications from that procedure.
Bruce Klingner, former CIA deputy division chief for North Korea and a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told CNN, “There have been a number of recent rumors about Kim’s health (smoking, heart, and brain). If Kim is hospitalized, it would explain why he wasn’t present on the important April 15th celebrations. But, over the years, there have been a number of false health rumors about Kim Jong Un or his father. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Anna Fifield, Beijing bureau chief for the Washington Post, said she wrote in her 2019 book The Great Successor that Kim’s “biggest risk factor was his obvious poor health — and in particular the risk of cardiac problems. Kim Jong Un is five feet, seven inches tall, and weighs about three hundred pounds = BMI of 45, or ‘extremely obese.’”
Kim Reportedly Underwent a Cardiovascular Procedure Earlier This Month
CNBC reported that North Korea’s leader underwent a cardiovascular procedure on April 12. A source told Daily NK, “My understanding is that he had been struggling (with cardiovascular problems) since last August but it worsened after repeated visits to Mount Paektu.”
According to the report, Kim’s health deterioration is due to obesity, heavy smoking and being overworked.