A train likely belonging to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been spotted at a resort town in the country’s east, satellite photos reviewed by a US-based think tank showed, as speculation persists over his health.
The train was parked at a station reserved for the Kim family in Wonsan on April 21 and April 23, the respected 38North website said in a report published Saturday.
38North cautioned that the train’s presence “does not prove the whereabouts of the North Korean leader or indicate anything about his health”.
“But it does lend weight to reports that Kim is staying at an elite area on the country’s eastern coast,” it said.
There has been growing conjecture about Kim’s health since his conspicuous absence from the April 15 celebrations for the birthday of his grandfather Kim Il Sung, the regime’s founder — the most important day on the North Korean political calendar.
Kim has not made a public appearance since presiding over a meeting of the Workers’ Party politburo on April 11 and inspecting drills by fighter jets at an air defence unit, which was reported by state media on April 12.
Daily NK, an online media outlet run mostly by North Korean defectors, has reported Kim underwent a cardiovascular procedure earlier this month and was recovering at a villa in North Pyongan province.
Citing an unidentified source inside the country, it said Kim, who is in his mid-30s, had needed urgent treatment due to heavy smoking, obesity and fatigue.
South Korea, which is still technically at war with the North, has played down the report.
Quoting what it said was an anonymous US official, reported that Washington was “monitoring intelligence” that Kim was in “grave danger” after undergoing surgery.
But on Thursday, US President Donald Trump rejected reports that Kim was ailing.
“I think the report was incorrect,” Trump told reporters, but declined to state when he was last in touch with him.