Kim Jong-Un has sent a letter to the Syrian president after reports the North Korean leader was ‘gravely ill’ following heart surgery.
Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad sent a message of congratulations to Jong-Un on April 11 to mark the birthday anniversary of President Kim II Sung – the founder of North Korea who ruled from 1948 until his death in 1994.
In response, current leader Kim Jong-Un thanked the president – days after reports claimed he was in ‘grave danger after surgery’.
His thank you letter to the Syrian establishment reportedly expressed his ‘deep thanks for sending his heartfelt message of greeting reflecting the warm respect for President Kim II Sung’.
Jong-Un also reportedly said the two countries ‘ties would grow stronger true to the noble intention of the preceding leaders and the desire of the people of the two countries’.
Sources in North Korea have denied US reports that claim the dictator, believed to be aged 36, is seriously ill and in “grave danger”, and that his health had taken a turn for the worse after surgery.
It is speculated that the procedure was necessary due to a number of poor health factors or habits, including obesity, smoking and “overwork”.
The leader has been noticeably absent from public view for more than a week and speculation erupted after he missed the celebration of his grandfather’s birthday last Wednesday.
Seoul-based website DailyNK, run mostly by North Korean defectors, first reported that Kim underwent heart surgery on April 12, citing an unnamed source inside the secretive country.
The source speculated that obesity, prolific smoking habits and “overwork” led to Kim requiring the operation.
He is under the care of doctors as he recovers at the Hyang San Villa, which is close to the Hyangsan Hospital where the procedure was carried out, the report added.
The hospital is reserved exclusively for the Kim family, which has ruled North Korea since it was founded in 1948 after World War II.
Some reports suggested he had been moved to a different region after surgery.
South Korean officials have rejected claims that Kim is seriously ill. So have officials in neighbouring China, one of the North’s closest allies.
Those claims emerged in a CNN report which quoted an unnamed official who said the US was monitoring intelligence that suggests Kim was in “grave danger” after surgery.