Kim Jong-un coronavirus: North Korean despot ‘flees to beach resort’ after aides infected

Kim, who was rumoured to be in poor health after heart surgery, was whisked away from the capital Pyongyang and taken to Wonsan on his private train. Korean news website Ichannela said the leader headed for beach resort on the east coast of the country to stay in a villa after people around him fell ill. Japanese newspaper The Sansei suggested Kim had fled Pyongyang amid fears coronavirus was rapidly spreading across the densely populated city.

I think the report was incorrect

Donald Trump

Officials in the secretive Hermit Kingdom have played down the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the poverty-stricken country after initially insisting it was free of the disease.

The claims were widely rejected by the international community with some experts saying as many as three million North Koreans could be wiped out with the country being so ill-equipped to deal with such a health crisis.

Reports of Kim’s departure from the capital come after days of speculation about his medical condition.

Daily NK, a Seoul-based new website, cited unnamed North Korean sources in reports the leader was gravely ill after undergoing heart surgery.

US President Donald Trump cast further doubt on the reports yesterday but declined to say if he had been in touch with officials there.

Mr Trump told a daily White House briefing: “I think the report was incorrect. I heard it was based on old documents.”

Earlier in the week the President said he might contact North Korean officials to inquire about Kim but gave no indication he had done so.

The two leaders have had regular communications over the past couple of years.

Mr Trump said: “We have a good relationship with North Korea, I have a good relationship with Kim Jong-un and I hope he’s okay.”

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Kim is a third-generation hereditary leader who rules North Korea with an iron fist.

He came to power after his father Kim Jong-il died in 2011 from a heart attack.

US intelligence sources have acknowledged Kim has a history of health problems and is overweight and said there was a “credible possibility” he has suffered some kind of health issue.

But they do not regard theories Kim has had a heart attack or some other serious health setback and said he has disappeared from public view for extended periods in the past.

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