South Korean official says Kim Jong Un is 'alive and well' amid long public absence and rumors that he died or was in grave condition

By Connor Perrett

An aide to the South Korean president said Sunday it was his government's official position that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is "alive and well" amid rampant speculation that Kim is either dead or brain dead.

"Our government position is firm," Chung-in Moon, a foreign policy adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, told Fox News. "Kim Jong Un is alive and well. He has been staying in the Wonsan area since April 13. No suspicious movements have so far been detected."

As Business Insider reported earlier Sunday, US and South Korean intelligence agencies do not believe that the North Korean dictator is dead, despite the rumors that have been circulating for more than a week.

According to a Sunday Washington Post report, rumors of the dictator's possible death first began to circulate on April 15, when he was absent from celebrations meant to honor his late grandfather's birthday. A South Korea media report said Kim had undergone a cardiovascular procedure on April 12 in a hospital outside Pyongyang — the North Korean capital city — and was recovering, according to the report.

Three government officials with knowledge of the situation told The Washington Post both the US and South Korean governments are skeptical about reports that he is dead or in grave condition. Commercial satellite images published by 38 North reportedly showed what was likely Kim's train on April 21 and 23 in the coastal resort city of Wonsan in North Korea, according to the report. 

Kim has not been publicly seen since April 11.

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