North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is in a “vegetative state” after he underwent heart surgery earlier this month, a Japanese magazine says. China has sent a team to North Korea, including medical experts, to check on Kim Jong-un, according to three people familiar with the situation.
Watch: Kim Jong’s latest Health Updates
The trip by the Chinese doctors and officials comes amid conflicting reports about the health of the North Korean ruler. It was not immediately clear what the journey by the Chinese team signaled in terms of Kim’s health. North Korean media hasn’t mentioned Kim’s health or whereabouts, even though reports by other media have sparked international speculation about his well-being.
There had been a series of rumors concerning the unexpected disappearance of Kim Jong . Is Kim Jong alive and well?, accompanied by the claims that Kim Jong is dead. Now the news about him in a vegetative state has triggered a number of further speculations.
The Chinese expert told the magazine that Kim clutched his chest and fell to the ground on a visit to the countryside earlier this month. A doctor accompanying Kim performed CPR and took him to a nearby hospital. Kim, believed to be 36, needed a stent procedure, which calls for placing a tube into a full blood vessel allowing blood to keep flowing to the heart, according to the weekly magazine.
South Korean government officials and a Chinese official with the Liaison Department challenged subsequent reports suggesting that Kim was in grave danger after surgery, Reuters said. South Korean officials said they had detected no signs of unusual activity in North Korea. 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.