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3 month ago
From CNN, Daily Star

North Korean leader in grave danger after surgery



The US is monitoring intelligence that North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, is in grave danger after a surgery, according to a US official with direct knowledge. Kim recently missed the celebration of his grandfather's birthday on April 15, which raised speculation about his well-being. He had been seen four days before that at a government meeting. Another US official told CNN Monday that the concerns about Kim's health are credible but the severity is hard to assess.

Daily NK, an online newspaper based in South Korea that focuses on North Korea, reports that Kim reportedly received a cardiovascular system procedure on April 12. Kim received the cardiovascular system procedure because of "excessive smoking, obesity, and overwork," according to the news site, and is now receiving treatment in a villa in Hyangsan County following his procedure. After assessing that Kim's condition had improved, most of the medical team treating him returned to Pyongyang on April 19 and a few of them remained to oversee his recovery situation, according to the news site. CNN is unable to independently confirm the report. The National Security Council and Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment when reached by CNN on Monday. CNN has also reached out to the CIA and the State Department for comment and sought comment from the South Koreans.

Gathering intelligence out of North Korea is notoriously difficult -- one of the most challenging targets for US intelligence. North Korea tightly controls any information surrounding its leader, who is treated almost like a deity within the country. His absences from official state media often spark speculation and rumors about his health. North Korea has no free press and is often a black hole when it comes to the country's leadership. Analysts are heavily reliant on scanning state media dispatches and watching propaganda videos for any semblance of a clue.

 
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