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Satellite images likely show Kim Jong Un's train at resort compound amid health concerns

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Rumors about Kim Jong Un's health swirl after he hasn't been seen in weeks

NHAC NGUYEN/AFP

Satellite images show a train likely belonging to Kim Jong Un has been spotted at his compound in a resort town on North Korea's east coast. The train has been parked at the compound since last week.

There is much speculation that Kim Jong Un is critically ill and possibly dead, despite the lack of confirmed reports on his condition. There are unconfirmed reports Kim was in critical condition after receiving heart surgery. A Japanese magazine reported that the North Korean leader is in a "vegetative state."

The rumors concerning Kim's health are being exacerbated from his recent lack of public appearances. Kim's last confirmed public appearance was on April 11, when he was at a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party committee of policymakers, according to North Korean state media reports.

Kim, 36, was noticeably missing from The Day of the Sun celebrations on April 15, which is North Korea's most important holiday because it commemorates the birthday of the nation's first leader Kim Il-Sung.

On Saturday, Kim did not make any speeches or appearances during the 88th anniversary of the Korean People's Revolutionary Army.

Since April 21, the 820-foot-long train has been parked at the Wonsan compound, and it was repositioned for departure on April 23. The train was not present on April 15.

"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," 38 North wrote.

The Wonsan complex includes nine large guesthouses and a recreation center. At the center of the grounds is a large building that was constructed shortly after Kim Jong Un came to power in 2014. It also includes a protected port, shooting range, recreation building, and a covered dock that is believed for his mega yacht. Adjacent to the railway station is a small runway that was originally used for light aircraft but was converted in the second half of 2019 into a horse-riding track to match Kim's latest hobby.

If Kim is in Wosan, that will back multiple reports that Kim left Pyongyang to shelter on North Korea's eastern coast.

However, there are many reports disputing speculation that Kim Jong Un's health had deteriorated.

According to Reuters: "South Korean government officials and a Chinese official with the Liaison Department challenged subsequent reports suggesting that Kim was in grave danger after surgery. South Korean officials said they had detected no signs of unusual activity in North Korea."

The South Korean source said Kim was alive and would likely make an appearance soon.

President Donald Trump rejected reports that Kim was gravely ill or dead. "I think the report was incorrect," Trump told reporters during Thursday's White House coronavirus news briefing. "I'm hearing they used old documents."

"I think it was a fake report done by CNN," Trump added. Trump did not say if he had talked to North Korean officials about the condition of Kim Jong Un.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk to the media, said the rumors of Kim's declining health is "speculation."

This isn't the first time that there have been rampant rumors regarding the decline of the hermit kingdom's leader. In 2014, Kim Jong Un had not been seen in nearly six weeks before returning and needing a cane to walk. South Korean intelligence said Kim had undergone surgery to remove a cyst from his ankle.

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