North Korea’s Kim sends letter to construction workers amid reports his TRAIN spotted at coastal resort
26 Apr, 2020 02:29 / Updated 2 hours ago
FILE PHOTO © Global Look Press / Xinhua
Rumours about North Korea’s leader's whereabouts and health have been the talk of the town - but Kim Jong-un seems to be having none of that, praising workers of the major construction project, that is according to state media.
As the world watches the unravelling of the drama starring the North Korean leader with bated breath, with conflicting reports fuelling speculations of either his demise or a serious health condition - Kim was reported by state Rodong Sinmun newspaper to have sent greetings to the staff working on the construction of Samjiyon city, one of the most ambitious development projects underway in the reclusive nation.
The publication reported Sunday that Kim “sent thanks” to workers involved in the rebuilding of what was touted as an “ideal socialist village” by the North Korean leader himself. The town, which is reported to be the birthplace of Kim’s late father and country’s former ruler - Kim Jong-il - was supposed to undergo a near-complete makeover, being transformed into a model city with new railway stations, power and telecommunications infrastructure and hundreds of brand new buildings added.
The project is located at the foot of Mount Paektu - the country’s “sacred mountain” - which Kim has frequented in recent years. In early December, the North Korean leader officially inaugurated the renovated city in a lavish ceremony.
Report of Kim’s sending greetings to the workers, as well as of his official communication with foreign leaders did little to quash the rumours of him supposedly lying on his deathbed - even though the speculations of his ill health have been since played down by China and South Korea, as well as by US President Donlad Trump, who rubbished CNN source-based reporting as "fake news."
Unsurprisingly, a fresh report that a train which “probably” belongs to Kim appeared to be parked at a coastal resort where the North Korean leader was reported to be recuperating after a “cardiovascular procedure'' has added flames to the fire.
The report by North Korea research group 38 North cited satellite imagery, suggesting that the train has been at the railway station at the city of Wonsan at least since April 21. Although the publication itself admitted that this fact gives little clues about Kim’s health condition, mainstream media pundits wasted no time in trying to read into the imagery.
“This doesn't prove or disprove anything about his health. But for context, Kim usually prefers to fly to Wonsan. A train is a far more formal/solemn way to travel,” CNN’s Will Ripley said.
The swirling speculations about Kim’s health are aided by Pyongyang’s customary silence on the matter, which has yet to refute the reports.