From vegetative state to death, reports swirl around Kim Jong Un’s condition

Speculation is increasing around the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It is not clear if he is in grave health or dead, depending on which reports you read.

Fox News reported that a Japanese media outlet is claiming Kim is in a vegetative state following a heart procedure. The report comes after it was initially reported that Kim was very ill after heart surgery. Daily NK, a Seoul, South Korea-based website, was among the sites reporting earlier this week that Kim was recovering from such surgery, which reportedly happened April 12.

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Reuters reported that China sent a team of medical experts to advise on Kim, according to three unnamed sources familiar with the situation.

According to the report, two of the sources said a delegation led by a senior member of the International Liaison Department of the Communist Party of China left for North Korea on Thursday. The department could not be reached for comment by Reuters.

Kim was notably absent from the celebration of the 88th anniversary of the creation of the Korean People's Revolutionary Army (KPRA) on April 25, Newsweek reported.

Hong Kong Satellite Television reported Jong was dead, according to Newsweek, but this has not been confirmed by U.S. sources.

“North Korean military readiness remains within historical norms and there is no further evidence to suggest a significant change in defensive posturing or national level leadership changes,” a senior Pentagon official not authorized to speak on the record told Newsweek.

President Donald Trump discounted reports on Kim’s failing health.

“I think the report was incorrect,” he told reporters on Thursday. He would not say if he had been in touch with North Korean leadership.

On Friday, a South Korean source told Reuters that Kim was alive and would be making an appearance soon, according to their intelligence. The source would not comment on Kim’s health or any involvement of Chinese agencies.