North Korea’s state news agency has released new photos of Kim Jong Un amid reports he’s been in a coma for months and ceded some power to his sister.
The pics appear to show a healthy-looking Kim leading a meeting on Tuesday of the politburo of the Workers Party to call for prevention efforts against the coronavirus and a typhoon, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
They were syndicated through the Associated Press, which noted that independent journalists weren’t given access to the event and that the images couldn’t be independently verified.
The meeting assessed “some defects in the state emergency anti-epidemic work for checking the inroads of the malignant virus,” KCNA said in a statement.
North Korea hasn’t reported any confirmed cases of COVID-19 but Kim said last month that the virus “could be said to have entered” the country and issued a lockdown after a man was reported to have symptoms. Test results on the man were inconclusive, according to the World Health Organization.
The meeting also discussed state emergency measures on preventing crop damage and casualties from Typhoon Bavi, which is expected to wallop the country within days.
North Korea’s economy has taken a hit by recent border closures and flood damage.
Speculation has long swirled about Kim’s health — with a former aide claiming this week that the despot fell into a coma months ago following a botched heart operation and that his subsequent public appearances were previously recorded.
The aide said Kim’s younger sister Kim Yo Jong was poised to help lead the country.
Earlier this month, state-sanctioned photos showed Kim arriving in a luxury SUV to tour a North Korean village that was devastated by flooding.
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