Russian Communist MP: ‘Embassy has no official info on whether North Korean leader is ill, I spoke to them this morning’

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A Russian lawmaker has asked the North Korean embassy about Kim Jong-un’s health, amid speculation about the leader’s wellbeing following his lengthy absence from the public eye.

Russia’s Communist Party (KPRF) lawmaker Kazbek Taysayev, who leads a group of MPs responsible for relations with Pyongyang, said that he had recently contacted North Korean diplomats.

“I have spoken with the [North Korean] embassy today. As you know, there were some reports [regarding Kim’s health],” Taysayev told Russian media.

We only deal with official information, and there is no official information about the [North Korean] leader being ill.

Kim has not been seen in public since April 11. Last week, he missed a celebration commemorating the birth of Kim Il-sung, his grandfather and the founder of North Korea. His birthday is the country’s main holiday.

The North Korean leader’s lengthy absence from the public eye has prompted speculations about his health, and has even sparked rumors of his death.

Citing unnamed US officials, CNN reported earlier this week that Kim is “grave danger” after undergoing a previous unspecified surgery. One source told the news channel that the concerns over the North Korean leader’s health are “credible,” but their severity is hard to asses. The Guardian, meanwhile, reported China has sent a medical team to check on Kim, also citing sources.

On Saturday, news website 38 North published satellite images of a train, likely belonging to Kim, parked at his residence in Wonsan. According to the report, the train has been there since at least April 21.

North Korean media has remained silent with regards to Kim’s health and his activities over the past two weeks. 

On Sunday, a letter in his name was read out on state radio, congratulating construction workers in the border town of Samjiyon.

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