Where Is North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un?
Many people are asking where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could be. The secretive leader has not been seen in public for more than two weeks. As a result, rumors are spreading about whether something happened to him.
The United States and its allies, including South Korea and Japan, closely watch the health of North Korea's leaders. That is because the country controls nuclear weapons which the government has repeatedly threatened to use.
Some reports say Kim has injured his lower leg. Others say he has kidney problems or that he had an unsuccessful heart operation. Some say he is staying separated to avoid the new coronavirus. There even is a report that he was injured in a failed missile test.
Rumors are also spreading about Kim's current condition. Some reports have said he is in a vegetative state or is dead. Other reports say there is nothing wrong with his health.
Explosion of rumors
The rumors began after Kim Jong Un failed to attend the birthday observance of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung. The day, April 15, is very important in North Korea's culture of respect for and obedience to the ruling family.
After that, The Daily NK, a website based in Seoul, reported that Kim had had a heart operation. It said Kim reportedly was having health problems caused by smoking and his weight.
The same day, the American cable news channel CNN reported that Kim was in "grave danger" after a medical operation.
North Korea remains quiet
North Korea has not answered the rumors. State operated media have said that the leader is carrying out business as usual. But no recent pictures of Kim have been published.
Rachel Minyoung Lee, a North Korea expert based in Seoul, said North Korea's latest actions are not new.
"North Korea does not react to rumors about the leader's health," Lee said.
For example, in 2014, Kim was not seen in public for 41 days. "North Korea did not issue any official reaction at the time, or in 2009 when [Kim's father] Kim Jong Il was out for 51 days," she noted.
Kim reappeared in 2014 using a cane for support. North Korean media said only that he had experienced "discomfort" but did not give details.
Little information available
South Korea has not supported reports about Kim being in poor health. On Monday, South Korean Unification Minister Kim Yeon-Chul said South Korea's intelligence can say there is "no unusual movements" in the North.
An adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in recently said, "Kim Jong Un is alive and well. He has been in the Wonsan area since April 13."
Satellite pictures from last week showed that Kim Jong Un's special train was in the Wonsan area.
Additional reports say there has been an increase in the buying of cleaning supplies and imported foods in North Korea. The increase began on April 20, a person in the North Korean capital Pyongyang told VOA. However, the person said the buying might have been connected to an extended coronavirus lockdown. It has reported no cases of infection from the virus, a claim that experts dispute.
However, longtime North Korea observers warn against fast judgements.
Bruce Klingner is a North Korea expert at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. He said, "Over the years, there have been many false reports exclaiming the decline health or death of Kim Jong Un."
Andray Abrahamian, another North Korea expert, said that "reasonable speculation" about Kim's health has turned into a lot of false reports and "hyperbole."
I'm Mario Ritter, Jr.
1.false reports 虚假报道
I'm not going to respond to all the false reports.
2.special train 专列
Since many people are traveling by this special train, we have a lot of things to do.
3.a lot of 大量的
You've caused us a lot of trouble.
4.carrying out 实施
The commanders accused him of carrying out a reign of terror.
5.South Korea has not supported reports about Kim being in poor health.
in poor health 身体抱恙
He's in poor health; don't work him as you would a healthy person.
You're in poor health, so don't overtax yourself.
6.As a result, rumors are spreading about whether something happened to him.
As a result 结果
As a result, industry was overmanned and pen-pushers were everywhere.
As a result, daily output has doubled.
很多人都好奇朝鲜领导人金正恩的行踪 。这位神秘的领导人已经两周多没有在公开场合露面了 。于是，关于他是否出事了的谣言四起 。
美国及其韩日等盟国都密切关注着这位朝鲜领导人的健康状况 。因为朝鲜控制着该国政府一再威胁要使用的核武器 。
有报道称，金正恩伤到了小腿 。还有报道称他有肾病，或心脏手术失败 。有消息称，他为了避免感染新冠病毒一直在隔离 。甚至有传言称，他在一次失败的导弹试射中受伤 。
关于金正恩目前健康状态的谣言也传播 。有报道称，他变成了植物人或者已经死亡 。还有报道称，他的健康状况没有任何问题 。
在金正恩未出席祖父金日成（Kim Il Sung）的诞辰庆祝活动后，谣言开始出现 。4月15日这天对于朝鲜尊重和服从统治家族的文化来说非常重要 。
之后，首尔的《每日朝鲜》网站报道称，金正恩做了心脏手术 。该报称，据传金正恩的健康问题是因为吸烟和超重导致的 。
朝鲜没有回应这些谣言 。官方媒体称，金正恩照常进行工作 。但是没有公布金正恩最近的照片 。
驻首尔的朝鲜专家雷切尔·李明永（Rachel Minyoung Lee）表示，朝鲜的最新举动并不新鲜 。
例如，2014年金正恩有41天没有公开露面 。她指出：“朝鲜当时没有做出任何正式回应，包括2009年金正恩父亲金正日消失51天那次也不例外 。”
2014年，金正恩拄着拐杖再次现身 。朝鲜媒体只称，他出现身体不适，但是并未透露细节 。
韩国方面不认可有关金正恩身体抱恙的报道 。韩国统一部部长金尹哲（Kim Yeon-Chul）周一表示，韩国情报部门可以直言，朝鲜没有“异常行动 。”
韩国总统文在寅的一名顾问最近表示：“金正恩身体健康 。从4月13日后，他一直在元山地区 。”
另有报道称，朝鲜清洁用品和进口食品的购买有所增加 。朝鲜首都平壤的一位人士对美国之音表示，朝鲜加大采购是从4月20日开始的 。不过这位知情人士表示，采购可能与延长新冠病毒封锁有关 。朝鲜没有报告任何新冠病毒感染病例，这一说法遭到专家们的质疑 。
布鲁斯·克林纳（Bruce Klingner）是华盛顿遗产基金会的朝鲜问题专家 。他说：“这些年来，有许多虚假报道称金正恩的健康恶化或死亡 。”