Kim ‘alive and well’ in resort, reports

 

The mystery surrounding the health of Kim Jong-un took a new twist today after neighbouring South Korea insisted the missing despot is "alive and well".

President Moon Jae-in's foreign policy adviser poured cold water on reports Mr Kim had died by claiming he is actually staying at his holiday palace on the North Korean coast, The US Sun reports.

"Our government position is firm.....Kim Jong-un is alive and well, " Chung-in Moon told Fox News.

"He has been staying in the Wonsan area since April 13. No suspicious movements have so far been detected."

North Korean defectors also dismissed the spiralling rumours of Mr Kim's death.

 

Joo Sung-ha, a defector turned journalist, said in a Facebook post reported by the New York Times it was reasonable to believe Mr Kim had health problems.

However, he wrote he had zero trust in any of the reports as information about Mr Kim's health is such a closely guarded secret.

"The health of the Kim family is the secret among secrets," he said.

Thae Yong-ho, a former North Korean diplomat who also defected, said it was hard to believe any reliable information had been leaked by Mr Kim's inner circle.

He said that while he worked in the country no one was aware of Kim Jong-il's death until 2011 when they were called to an auditorium and saw an announcer dressed in black.

 

Earlier, an expert warned that Mr Kim's death could force the US and South Korea into military action which would "make Afghanistan and Iraq pale in comparison".

They fear the power void left behind by the despot's demise may erupt into an ugly civil war involving rival military units within the mighty North Korean army

Regional observers say any chaos sparked in the wake of Mr Kim's death could then lead to an intervention by the South and it's powerful ally America.

On Tuesday it was claimed it was not known if Mr Kim was "dead or alive" following reports he had undergone secret heart surgery.

One senior White House reporter said she had been told Trump officials were already looking into who would be in line for succession.

However, both South Korea and China later said they believed reports he was in "grave danger" were unfounded.

And a top Pentagon official today said Kim was likely to be still in "full control" of his military.

Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Hyten said: "In the intel, I don't have anything to confirm or deny anything along those lines, so I assume that Kim Jong-un is still in full control of the Korean nuclear force and the Korean military forces."

Now David Maxwell, a retired special forces colonel and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies think tank, has explained how things could go very wrong, very quickly.

He told the Military Times: "Units of the North Korean People's Army are going to compete for resources and survival.

"This will lead to internal conflict among units and could escalate to widespread civil war."

And he fears the bloodshed in the nuclear state could lead to South Korea being forced into action dragging the US into the fight.

He said: "The ROK/US alliance is going to have to be prepared to secure and render safe the entire WMD program, nuclear, chemical, biological weapons and stockpiles, manufacturing facilities, and human infrastructure.

"This is a contingency operation that will make Afghanistan and Iraq pale in comparison."

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

Originally published as Kim 'alive and well' in resort, reports


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