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Summary of external news of North Korea this week

All News 16:00 April 24, 2020

SEOUL, April 24 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of external news of North Korea this week.

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No unusual activity in N. Korea, Cheong Wa Dae says, amid speculation on Kim Jong-un's health

SEOUL, April 21 (Yonhap) -- Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday that South Korea has not spotted any "unusual" signs in North Korea that may suggest a serious problem in leader Kim Jong-un's health.

Its statement came in response to multiple media reports that Kim has been hospitalized after a surgery. CNN said that the United States is monitoring "intelligence" that he is in "gave danger." It quoted an unnamed U.S. official.

With regard to the news, "We have nothing to confirm and there has been no unusual activity detected in North Korea," Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok said in a text message to reporters.

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U.S. doesn't know what condition N.K. leader is in: nat'l security adviser

WASHINGTON, April 21 (Yonhap) -- The United States doesn't know what condition North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is in, the U.S. national security adviser said Tuesday, following reports that Kim was seriously ill.

Robert O'Brien said it is too early to discuss who would succeed Kim in the dynastic regime.

"The basic assumption would be maybe it would be someone in the family. But, again, it's too early to talk about that because we just don't know what condition Chairman Kim is in and we'll have to see how it plays out," he said in footage aired by CNN, according to Reuters.

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Trump says 'We don't know' about N.K. leader's health

WASHINGTON, April 21 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday he doesn't know about the health condition of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un amid reports he may be seriously ill.

"These are reports that came out, and we don't know. We don't know," Trump said at a White House coronavirus press briefing. "I can only say this: I wish him well. Because if he is in the kind of condition that the reports say, that the news is saying, that's a very serious condition, as you know, but I wish him well.

Trump said he doesn't place "too much credence" in any report put out by CNN. Citing an unidentified U.S. official, CNN first reported that the U.S. is looking into intelligence that Kim is in "grave danger" after a surgery.

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Top U.S. military official assumes N.K. leader still in control of armed forces

WASHINGTON, April 22 (Yonhap) -- A top U.S. military official said Wednesday he assumes North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is still in full control of his country's armed forces despite reports he may be seriously ill.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. John Hyten said he has no information to add to the reports about Kim's health.

"I can tell you that in the intel, I don't have anything to confirm or deny anything along those lines," he said during a Pentagon press briefing. "So I assume that Kim Jong-un is still in full control of the Korean nuclear forces and the Korean military forces. I have no reason not to assume that."

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U.S. flies spy plane over Korean Peninsula to monitor N. Korea

SEOUL, April 22 (Yonhap) -- A U.S. surveillance aircraft flew over South Korea, an aviation tracker said Wednesday, the latest in a series of near-daily flights to monitor North Korea amid speculation about leader Kim Jong-un's health condition.

The U.S. Air Force's RC-135W Rivet Joint was spotted in skies above Seoul and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province, Aircraft Spots tweeted without specifying the exact time of the operation.

This type of aircraft was last spotted on Monday, which was followed by surveillance operations by the air force's E-8C and navy's P-3C, according to the tracker.

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NSC 'confirms' no unusual signs in N. Korea regarding Kim Jong-un's health

SEOUL, April 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top security officials on Thursday "confirmed" that there's no unusual activity in North Korea in connection with media-driven speculation that leader Kim Jong-un may be seriously ill, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

They checked what's going on in the secretive communist nation during their weekly session of the National Security Council (NSC) standing committee.

They then "confirmed no unusual situations currently inside North Korea," Cheong Wa Dae said in a press statement.

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Trump says report on N.K. leader's health was 'incorrect'

WASHINGTON, April 23 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that he believes a recent CNN report on Kim Jong-un's failing health was "incorrect."

"I'm hearing they used old documents. That's what I hear," he said during a White House coronavirus press briefing. "I'm hearing that the report was an incorrect report. I hope it was an incorrect report."

Trump's comments come two days after he said the United States doesn't know if the reports are true and added that he wishes Kim well.
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