TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China reportedly has an emergency medical team on standby if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's condition further deteriorates after cardiovascular surgery.
CNN reported Tuesday (April 21) the leader of the hereditary regime is “in grave danger” following surgery and the U.S. is closely monitoring the situation. The article alleges that Kim received the procedure due to “obesity, excessive smoking, and overwork,” citing the South Korea-based news website Daily NK.
North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) ran an article Tuesday saying the “Supreme Leader” sent birthday wishes and presents to a number of octogenarians who have contributed to the country. The report did not feature a photo or footage of Kim, nor did it respond to conjecture about his health.
Citing a source acquainted with academics at Jilin University, in a northeastern Chinese province bordering North Korea, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that Beijing will scramble a jet full of medical experts to transport Kim, performing procedures on board if he falls seriously ill. The source, a businessman surnamed Kim, told RFA that China has deployed thousands of special agents in North Korea to protect Kim and prevent a coup, and a contingency plan is in place to ensure a smooth succession of power if Kim dies.
South Korea has downplayed health concerns regarding Kim's health, with the presidential office suggesting he still holds the reins of state affairs and that no unusual activity has been detected within the reclusive country, wrote The Associated Press.