“Kim Jong Un is in good health. Never underestimate him!” Trump wrote on Twitter, without elaborating.
This year, there have been numerous spurious claims that Kim is in poor health or has died, although later, photos posted by North Korean state-run media showed him in public and touring various parts of the country. The rumors have spread in tandem with reports that his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, has assumed a larger role inside the country’s communist regime.
Kim was apparently photographed on Sept. 6 after surveying damage wrought by Typhoon Maysak. Reuters, citing state-run media, reported that he dismissed a provincial party boss and ordered 12,000 party members to join the recovery effort.
North Korean state-run mouthpiece Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said more than 1,000 houses were destroyed in coastal areas of South and North Hamgyong provinces and reported that farmland and some public buildings had been inundated.
The appearance came after Chang Song-min, a former aide to late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, alleged that Kim is seriously ill, the New York Post and other media reported in late August. He said that the despot fell into a coma several months ago and subsequent appearances in public were recorded ahead of time.
“I assess him to be in a coma, but his life has not ended,” Chang was quoted by the news outlets as saying. He noted that Kim Yo Jong’s ascension within the regime was because of his allegedly poor health.
His younger sister earlier this year warned that North Korea will take military action over leaflets that were dropped by defectors.
She warned that “by exercising my power authorized by the supreme leader, our party and the state, I gave an instruction to the arms of the department in charge of the affairs with the enemy to decisively carry out the next action,” according North Korean state-run media in June.
Weeks later, in July, she wrote to the United States, saying that another nuclear summit between Kim and Trump isn’t likely in the near future.
She also said she obtained permission from her brother to seek DVDs of U.S. Fourth of July celebrations.
“Last but not the least [sic], I would like to give my impression on the celebrations for the U.S. Independence Day that I’ve seen on TV a few days ago,” Kim added. “I have got the permission from Comrade Chairman to personally obtain, for sure, the DVD of the celebrations for the Independence Day in the future, if possible.”