TMZ, known for its celebrity exclusives, reported on Saturday that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is dead or “on his death bed with no hope for recuperation”, citing outlets in Japan and China.
The development is reported days after China sent a medical team to the reclusive Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the formal name for North Korea.
CNN reported on April 20 that Kim was in “grave danger” after a surgery, citing unnamed U.S. intelligence officials. Washington was reportedly closely monitoring the situation.
A Hong Kong-backed news channel’s vice director — the niece of former Chinese foreign minister Li Zhaoxing — posted the development, writing: “he’s dead”, TMZ reports.
Hong Kong Satellite Television’s Qing Feng cited a “very solid source” that Kim had died. Alternatively, a Japanese magazine reports that he is in a “vegetative state” after a heart surgery failed.
China dispatched a team to North Korea that included medical professionals to advise Kim on the coronavirus, Reuters news agency reported, citing three unnamed sources with knowledge of the situation.
Reuters was unable to verify whether the medical delegation was related to the current health condition of the North’s leader. Chinese and South Korean officials, however, maintained that they have not detected any unusual activity in the North.
The South Korea-based Daily North Korea outlet reported earlier this week that Kim was recovering on the other end of a cardiovascular procedure on April 12, citing an unnamed source in the North.