Conflicting reports over the health status of Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-un is in a vegetative state after a failed heart operation, according to Japanese media.

The magazine Shukan Gendai reported that Kim collapsed during a recent visit to a rural part of North Korea and a Chinese medic sent as part of a team to treat Kim believed a delay in a simple procedure to insert a stent left the leader severely ill.

The magazine claims a surgeon in charge of Kim's operation was not used to dealing with obese patients and was too nervous during the op, leading to delays that left Kim in a "vegetative state".

Another report from Hong Kong claims that Kim Jong-un is actually dead.

Vice director of HKSTV Hong Kong Satellite Television Shijian Xingzou says that a "very solid source" has told her Kim Jong-un has died.

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Trump meets Kim Jong-Un in DMZ
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Trump meets Kim Jong-Un in DMZ
President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, Sunday, June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (Susan Walsh/AP)

The US president briefly crossed the border as he renewed ties after previous meetings in Singapore and Vietnam.

President Donald Trump views North Korea from the Korean Demilitarized Zone from Observation Post Ouellette at Camp Bonifas in South Korea, Sunday, June 30, 2019 with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, Sunday, June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
A cap showing letters of Panmunjom and Demilitarized Zone, is placed at a souvenir shop at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Sunday, June 30, 2019. U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday he believes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants to meet for a handshake at the Demilitarized Zone separating the North and South, a day after issuing the unprecedented invitation and expressing willingness to cross the border for what would be a history-making photo op. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
The US president briefly crossed the border as he renewed ties after previous meetings in Singapore and Vietnam.
Donald Trump y Kim Jong-un
The US president briefly crossed the border as he renewed ties after previous meetings in Singapore and Vietnam.
South Korean people watch a live broadcast on a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Seoul
El presidente Donald Trump estrecha la mano del líder norcoreano Kim Jong Un mientras ambos posan para los fotógrafos en la zona desmilitarizada entre ambas Coreas, el domingo 30 de junio de 2019. (Foto AP/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump made his first visit to the Korean Demilitarized Zone on Sunday for a historic meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.
President Donald Trump, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in shake hands following their news conference at the Blue House in Seoul, Sunday, June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
With grins and handshakes, President Donald Trump welcomed North Korea's Kim Jong Un at the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone Sunday, seeking to revive talks on the pariah nation's nuclear program in a bid for a legacy-defining accord. Trump then became the first American leader to step into North Korea.The brief photo-op, another historic first in the yearlong rapprochement between the two technically warring nations, marks a return to face-to-face contact between the leaders since talks broke down during a summit in Vietnam in February. But it does little to erase significant doubts that remain about the future of the negotiations and the North's willingness to give up its stockpile of nuclear weapons.Trump's brief crossing into North Korean territory marked the latest milestone in two years of roller-coaster diplomacy between the two nations, as personal taunts of "little rocket man" and threats to destroy the other have been ushered out by on-again, off-again talks, professions of love and flowery letters."It's a great honour to be here," Trump said, "It is a great day for the world." Kim hailed the moment, saying of Trump, "I believe this is an expression of his willingness to eliminate unfortunate past and into a new future."Peering into North Korea from atop Observation Post Ouellette, Trump told reporters that there has been "tremendous" improvement since his first meeting with the North's leader in Singapore last year.Trump claimed the situation used to be marked by "tremendous danger" but "after our first summit, all of the danger went away."But North has yet to provide an accounting of its nuclear stockpile, let alone begin the process of dismantling its arsenal.The meeting at the truce city of Panmunjom also represented a striking acknowledgement by Trump of the authoritarian Kim's legitimacy over a nation with an abysmal human rights record.Trump's summit with Kim in Vietnam earlier this year collapsed without an agreement for denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. He became the first sitting U.S. president to meet with the leader of the isolated nation last year, when they signed an agreement in Singapore to bring the North toward denuclearization.___Follow Miller on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@zekejmiller and Lemire at http://twitter.com/@JonLemireZeke Miller And Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (centre L) meets with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (C) as US President Donald Trump (centre R) look on south of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
El presidente estadounidense Donald Trump y el líder norcoreano Kim Jong Un en la zona de demarcación entre las dos Coreas el 30 de junio de 2019 en Panmunjom
Support helicopters follow the Marine One helicopter carrying President Donald Trump to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) as they take off from Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea. It's their third meeting.
US President Donald Trump steps into the northern side of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, as North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un looks on, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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On Thursday, US President Donald Trump downplayed reports that Kim was gravely ill. "I think the report was incorrect," Trump told reporters, but he declined to say if he had been in touch with North Korean officials.

On Friday, a South Korean source told Reuters their intelligence was that Kim was alive and would likely make an appearance soon. The person said he did not have any comment on Kim's current condition or any Chinese involvement.

An official familiar with US intelligence said that Kim was known to have health problems but they had no reason to conclude he was seriously ill or unable eventually to reappear in public.

A US State department spokeswoman had no comment. US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, when asked about Kim's health on Fox News after Trump spoke said, "I don't have anything I can share with you tonight, but the American people should know we're watching the situation very keenly."

North Korea is one of the world's most isolated and secretive countries, and the health of its leaders is treated as a matter of state security. Reuters has not been able to independently confirm any details on Kim's whereabouts or condition.

North Korea's state media last reported on Kim's whereabouts when he presided over a meeting on April 11. State media did not report that he was in attendance at an event to mark the birthday of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, on April 15, an important anniversary in North Korea.

Kim, believed to be 36, has disappeared from coverage in North Korean state media before. In 2014, he vanished for more than a month and North Korean state TV later showed him walking with a limp. Speculation about his health has been fanned by his heavy smoking, apparent weight gain since taking power and family history of cardiovascular problems.

When Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il, suffered a stroke in 2008, South Korean media reported at the time that Chinese doctors were involved in his treatment along with French physicians.

Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping made the first state visit in 14 years by a Chinese leader to North Korea, an impoverished state that depends on Beijing for economic and diplomatic support.

China is North Korea's chief ally and the economic lifeline for a country hard-hit by U.N. sanctions, and has a keen interest in the stability of the country with which it shares a long, porous border.

Kim is a third-generation hereditary leader who came to power after his father Kim Jong Il died in 2011 from a heart attack. He has visited China four times since 2018.

Trump held unprecedented summits with Kim in 2018 and 2019 as part of a bid to persuade him to give up North Korea's nuclear arsenal.

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