Speaking at yesterday’s White House press conference, President Donald Trump said he knows the health status of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, claiming that he could not “tell you exactly” the status of Kim’s health but that he did have a “very good idea” about his condition.
Saying the world would know more “in the not too distant future,” Trump said, “But I can’t talk about it now. I just wish him well.”
Rumors about Kim Jong Un’s health status have swirled in the last few weeks; he hasn’t made a public appearance in the last four.
Citing top South Korean officials, Bloomberg News reported that the South Korean government knows where Kim is.
Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul did not elaborate, but said, “The government is aware of Kim Jong Un’s location.”
North Korean state media, perhaps feeling the pressure to dispel rumors about Kim’s condition, published a purported letter from Kim in which he congratulated South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Freedom Day. The letter was dated April 27, 2020.
Top diplomats have criticized President Trump for engaging in face-to-face meetings with Kim, saying his approach to diplomacy is further weakened with Kim out of sight.
“The serious level of diplomacy required to move the ball forward with the North Koreans isn’t possible with Trump at the helm,” said Suzanne DiMaggio, a senior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The U.S. negotiating team has not been fully empowered and, as a result, there still isn’t a consistent, reliable communications channel in place.”