North Korea’s leader is facing a health crisis, according to multiple reports.
Kim Jong Un is in “grave danger” after undergoing surgery, a U.S. official told CNN Monday evening.
The dictator reportedly underwent a cardiovascular procedure earlier this month and was receiving treatment, according to a Reuters report earlier on Monday.
Questions about Kim’s health started on April 15, when he failed to appear for celebrations of the birthday of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, CNN reported.
Former CIA deputy division chief for North Korea Bruce Klingner told CNN that health problems would explain his absence at the April 15th celebration, which is the country’s most important holiday.
“There have been a number of recent rumors about Kim’s health (smoking, heart, and brain). If Kim is hospitalized, it would explain why he wasn’t present on the important April 15th celebrations,” Klingner, who is a Heritage Foundation senior research fellow, told the outlet.
“But, over the years, there have been a number of false health rumors about Kim Jong-un or his father,” Klinger added. “We’ll have to wait and see.”
However, John Delury, an international relations professor at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, warned to CNN, “It’s easy to be wrong on this one.”
Reuters reported that according to unnamed sources who spoke with Daily NK, smoking and obesity had contributed to the dictator’s declining health, which prompted the procedure on April 12. It is unclear what exactly the procedure was.
According to CNN, Kim was last seen on state media on April 11.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry and National Intelligence Service could not confirm U.S. news reports of Kim’s poor health condition, the Associated Press reported. The outlet reported that the South Korean government was looking into the reports on Monday night.