Kim Jong Un has not been seen for several weeks, which has ignited rumors that the North Korean leader is gravely ill or possibly dead. New satellite images of luxury boats pose the possibility that Kim is at his beachside resort compound on the country's east coast.
North Korean-monitoring website NK Pro reported that luxury boats often used by Kim have been spotted at his coastal resort compound near Wonsan. Satellite images show that Kim's 95-foot Princess 95MY luxury yacht at the beachfront compound. The vessel was made by British-based Princess Yachts and was valued at $7 million in 2013.
#BREAKING Boats often used by #KimJongUn were spotted off the coast of Wonsan April, made unusual moves around the… https://t.co/gkzx63qgOY— Guy Elster (@Guy Elster) 1588083563.0
Kim's seaside compound in Wonsan features a private beach, nine large guest villas, recreation center, basketball court, a shooting range, a horse riding track, a boathouse, and it's own train station. Former NBA star Dennis Rodman stayed at the Wonsan resort when he visited Kim in 2013.
"It's one of his favorite houses," said Michael Madden, a North Korea leadership expert at the Stimson Center.
Madden told Reuters that Kim has about 13 significant compounds around the country, but only uses half of them.
"All of them are set up to serve as the leader's headquarters, so they are all equipped for him to run the country," Madden said.
Last week, satellite images revealed a train likely belonging to Kim was also at the Wonsan compound in recent weeks. On April 21 and 23, satellite images showed the 820-foot-long train at the Wonsan compound's train station.
Satellite imagery indicates that Kim Jong Un was likely at his Wonsan compound earlier this week. https://t.co/do75evMgcY #KimJongUn— 38 North (@38 North) 1587839892.0
"The train's presence does not prove the whereabouts of the North Korean leader or indicate anything about his health, but it does lend weight to reports that Kim is staying at an elite area on the country's eastern coast," wrote 38 North, a website "devoted to analysis about North Korea."
Kim's last confirmed public appearance was on April 11, when he was at a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party committee of policymakers.
Kim, 36, was noticeably missing from The Day of the Sun celebrations on April 15. The celebration, which is North Korea's most important holiday, commemorates the birthday of the nation's first leader Kim Il-Sung, who is Kim Jong Un's grandfather.
Kim did not make any speeches or appearances during the 88th anniversary of the Korean People's Revolutionary Army on April 25.
South Korean and U.S. officials say the leader of the hermit kingdom is alive, and may be in isolation to avoid exposure to the coronavirus. However, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he would "be shocked" if the North Korean dictator is not dead or medically incapacitated.