South Korean officials call for caution amid reports that North Korean leader Kim is ill

South Korean officials are calling for caution amid reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may be ill or is being isolated because of coronavirus concerns, emphasising that they have detected no unusual movements in North Korea.

At a closed door forum on Sunday, South Korea's Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul, who oversees engagement with the North, said the government has the intelligence capabilities to say with confidence that there was no indications of anything unusual.

Rumours and speculation over the North Korean leader's health began after he made no public appearance at a key state holiday on April 15, and has since remained out of sight.

South Korea media last week reported that Kim may have undergone cardiovascular surgery or was in isolation to avoid exposure to the new coronavirus.

Unification minister Kim cast doubt on the report of surgery, arguing that the hospital mentioned did not have the capabilities for such an operation.

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People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a mass rally and parade in the capital's main ceremonial square, a day after the ruling party wrapped up its first congress in 36 years by elevating him to party chairman, in Pyongyang, North Korea, May 10, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provides field guidance at the construction site of Ryomyong Street in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on March 16, 2017. KCNA/via ReutersATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS.Ê TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Un satélite localiza el tren de Kim Jong Un en un balneario nocoreano
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A woman works at the Kim Jong Suk silk mill in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. The silk mill, named after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's grandmother, is where more than a thousand workers – mostly women – sort and process silkworms to produce silk thread. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance to the Kumsong Tractor Factory in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on November 15, 2017. KCNA via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance to various units in Samjiyon County, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang December 9, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Visitors walk before a viewpoint overlooking the North Korean shoreline (C) and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, on the South Korean island of Ganghwa on April 23, 2020. - The United States will keep seeking North Korea's denuclearization no matter who is in charge in Pyongyang, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, amid speculation about leader Kim Jong Un's health. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
In this Nov. 26, 2019, photo, men wait for public transport near a propaganda photo showing North Korean 'soldiers-builders' in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump have signaled their affection for each other so regularly it might be easy to miss rising fears that the head-spinning diplomatic engagement of the past two years is falling apart. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is hugged by children during his visit to Samjiyon County in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang November 28, 2016. REUTERS/KCNA ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A woman works at the Kim Jong Suk silk mill in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. The silk mill, named after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's grandmother, is where more than a thousand workers – mostly women – sort and process silkworms to produce silk thread. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a newly built sports goods factory in Pyongyang in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 2, 2016. KCNA/ via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects Samjiyon County, in this undated photo released on October 30, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA/via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides a drill of mortar sub-units of North Korean Army in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 10, 2020. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un visits Taesong Department Store just before its opening, in this photo released on April 8, 2019 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with the delegation that had visited the United States, in Pyongyang, North Korea in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on January 23, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a nursery in Kangwon Province in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 24, 2018. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un hold a summit at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un is seen as the newly developed intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-15's test was successfully launched, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang November 30, 2017. REUTERS/KCNA ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and China's President Xi Jinping is displayed during a North Korean delegation's visit in Beijing, China, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on January 30, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose for photographs on the top of Mt. Paektu, North Korea September 20, 2018. Pyeongyang Press Corps/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smiles as he provides field guidance at a catfish plant in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 5, 2018. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts with members of the Korean People's Army scientists and engineers in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in an unknown location in North Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 15, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. PICTURE BLURRED AT SOURCE. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un poses with participants during the 8th Congress of the Korean Children's Union (KCU) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, North Korea June 8, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
A photo taken on September 13, 2019 shows passengers in the departure area of the airport in North Korea's northern city of Samjiyon. - The monumental construction project in the far reaches of North Korea ordered by leader Kim Jong Un, involves nothing less than the rebuilding of the entire town of Samjiyon, the seat of a county which includes the supposed birthplace of Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il, and Mount Paektu, the spiritual birthplace of the Korean nation. The plan includes a museum of revolutionary activities, a winter sports training complex, processing plants for blueberries and potatoes -- two of the area's most important crops -- a new railway line to Hyesan, and 10,000 apartments. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) / To go with NKorea-politics-economy-construction-Samjiyon, FOCUS by Sebastien Berger (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
In this image made from video of a still image broadcasted by North Korea's KRT on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, equipped with binoculars, supervises a rocket launch test. North Korea said Thursday, Aug. 1, leader Kim supervised the first test firing of a new multiple rocket launcher system that could potentially enhance its ability to strike targets in South Korea and U.S. military bases there.(KRT via AP Video)
La notizia secondo cui il dittatore sarebbe morto o in stato vegetativo dopo un intervento al cuore è stata diffusa da più fonti. Ma al momento non ci sono conferme
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A photo taken on September 10, 2019 shows a car passing along a street in North Korea's northern city of Samjiyon. - The monumental construction project in the far reaches of North Korea ordered by leader Kim Jong Un, involves nothing less than the rebuilding of the entire town of Samjiyon, the seat of a county which includes the supposed birthplace of Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il, and Mount Paektu, the spiritual birthplace of the Korean nation. The plan includes a museum of revolutionary activities, a winter sports training complex, processing plants for blueberries and potatoes -- two of the area's most important crops -- a new railway line to Hyesan, and 10,000 apartments. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) / To go with NKorea-politics-economy-construction-Samjiyon, FOCUS by Sebastien Berger (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: South Korean people watch a TV broadcasting a news report on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Seoul, South Korea, April 21, 2020. REUTERS/Heo Ran/File Photo
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un rides a horse as he visits battle sites in areas of Mt Paektu, Ryanggang, North Korea, in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 4, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Visitors look on the northern side at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Sunday, April 26, 2020. A train likely belonging to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been parked at his compound on the country's east coast since last week, satellite imagery showed, amid speculation about his health that has been caused, in part, by a long period out of the public eye. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
A worker carries repair material near a wire fence decorated with ribbons written with messages wishing for the reunification of the two Koreas at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. South Korean officials reported no unusual activity in North Korea on Tuesday following unconfirmed media reports that leader Kim Jong Un was in fragile health after surgery. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) looks through a periscope of a submarine during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167 in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang June 16, 2014. REUTERS/KCNA (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY MARITIME) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA
A visitor uses binoculars to see the northern side at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. South Korean officials reported no unusual activity in North Korea on Tuesday following unconfirmed media reports that leader Kim Jong Un was in fragile health after surgery. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
South Korean army soldiers wearing protective suits stand guard at the Unification Bridge, which leads to the Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone in Paju, South Korea, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. The South Korean government said Tuesday no unusual activity has been detected in North Korea after unconfirmed reports described leader Kim Jong Un as in fragile condition after heart surgery. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
A South Korean army soldier watches the North Korea side from the Unification Observation Post in Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019. U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be planning to give him "a nice present" such as a "beautiful vase" for Christmas rather than a missile launch.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the launch of a Hwasong-12 missile in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 16, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
In this image made from video of a still image broadcasted by North Korea's KRT on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, watches test firings of an unspecified new weapons system at an undisclosed location in North Korea. North Korea said Sunday leader Kim supervised the test-firings, which extended a streak of launches that are seen as an attempt to build leverage ahead of negotiations with the United States while driving a wedge between Washington and Seoul.(KRT via AP Video)
A visitor stands at a viewpoint overlooking the North Korean shoreline (C) and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, on the South Korean island of Ganghwa on April 23, 2020. - The United States will keep seeking North Korea's denuclearization no matter who is in charge in Pyongyang, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, amid speculation about leader Kim Jong Un's health. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
South Korean soldiers patrol along a barbed wire fence Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, on the South Korean island of Ganghwa on April 23, 2020. - The United States will keep seeking North Korea's denuclearization no matter who is in charge in Pyongyang, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, amid speculation about leader Kim Jong Un's health. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - APRIL 21: People watch a television broadcast reporting on North Korean Kim Jong-un at the Seoul Railway Station on April 21, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea has seen no unusual signs with regard to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's health, a government source said Tuesday, after US media reported that Kim is "in grave danger after a surgery." (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
PYONGYANG, Dec. 3, 2019 -- Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, attends a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the township of Samjiyon County in the northern part of the DPRK, marking the completion of the county's construction, on Dec. 2, 2019. The Samjiyon County, where Kim's father Kim Jong Il was born, "has turned into an example of a mountainous modern city under socialism," the official Korean Central News Agency said. (Photo by KCNA/Handout/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images)
A photo taken on September 10, 2019 shows passengers disembarking from a Tupolev TU-134 aircraft upon arrival in North Korea's northern city of Samjiyon. - The monumental construction project in the far reaches of North Korea ordered by leader Kim Jong Un, involves nothing less than the rebuilding of the entire town of Samjiyon, the seat of a county which includes the supposed birthplace of Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il, and Mount Paektu, the spiritual birthplace of the Korean nation. The plan includes a museum of revolutionary activities, a winter sports training complex, processing plants for blueberries and potatoes -- two of the area's most important crops -- a new railway line to Hyesan, and 10,000 apartments. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) / To go with NKorea-politics-economy-construction-Samjiyon, FOCUS by Sebastien Berger (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un sits in his vehicle after arriving at the Dong Dang railway station, Vietnam, at the border with China, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a drill of long-range artillery sub-units of the Korean People's Army, in North Korea in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 2, 2020.?KCNA?via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects Yangdok Hot Spring Resort in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 14, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves to the people during a parade to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of a truce in the 1950-1953 Korean War, at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang July 27, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY ANNIVERSARY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a submarine factory in an undisclosed location, North Korea, in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 23, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Jungphyong Vegetable Greenhouse Farm and Tree Nursery in Kyongsong County, North Korea, in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on October 18, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives at the railway station in the Russian far-eastern city of Vladivostok, Russia, April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a luncheon with Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East Alexander Kozlov and governor of Primorsky Region Oleg Kozhemyako, in this undated photo released on April 27, 2019 by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un attend an official reception following their talks in Vladivostok, Russia April 25, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Still, Yoon Sang-hyun, chairman of the foreign and unification committee in South Korea's National Assembly, told a gathering of experts on Monday that Kim Jong-un's absence from the public eye suggests "he has not been working as normally".

"There has not been any report showing he's making policy decisions as usual since April 11, which leads us to assume that he is either sick or being isolated because of coronavirus concerns," Yoon said.

North Korea has said it has no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, but some international experts have cast doubts on that claim.

On Monday, North Korean state media once again showed no new photos of Kim nor reported on his whereabouts.

However, they did carry reports that he had sent a message of gratitude to workers building a tourist resort in Wonsan, an area where some South Korean media reports have said Kim may be staying.

"Our government position is firm," Moon Chung-in, the top foreign policy adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said in comments to news outlets in the United States.

"Kim Jong-un is alive and well. He has been staying in the Wonsan area since April 13. No suspicious movements have so far been detected."

Satellite images from last week showed a special train possibly belonging to Kim at Wonsan, lending weight to those reports, according to 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea monitoring project.

Though the group said it was probably the North Korean leader's personal train, Reuters has not been able to confirm that independently, or whether he was in Wonsan.

A spokeswoman for the Unification Ministry said on Monday she had nothing to confirm when asked about reports that Kim was in Wonsan.

Last week China dispatched a team to North Korea including medical experts to advise on Kim Jong-un, according to three people familiar with the situation.

Reuters was unable to immediately determine what the trip by the Chinese team signalled in terms of Kim's health.

On Friday a South Korean source told Reuters their intelligence was that Kim Jong-un was alive and would likely make an appearance soon.

Experts have cautioned that Kim has disappeared from state media coverage before, and that gathering accurate information in North Korea is notoriously difficult.

North Korea's state media last reported on Kim's whereabouts when he presided over a meeting on April 11.

Kim, believed to be 36, vanished from state media for more than a month in 2014 and North Korean state TV later showed him walking with a limp.

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