Advertisement

Kim Jong Un's bandaged neck fuels speculation about leader's health

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) greets military personnel during the first-ever workshop of North Korean military commanders last week. File Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) greets military personnel during the first-ever workshop of North Korean military commanders last week. File Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE

Aug. 3 (UPI) -- A bandage that was applied to the back of Kim Jong Un's neck has prompted speculation about the leader's health.

Seoul's spy agency has dismissed rumors of illness, however.

Advertisement

South Korean lawmaker Rep. Ha Tae-kyung said Tuesday after a meeting of Seoul's parliamentary intelligence committee that South Korea's spy agency has said there are no signs of "abnormal health" after Kim attended the first-ever workshop of North Korean military commanders last week, MoneyToday reported.

Ha said Kim later appeared at other events with the bandage removed and that the spy agency noted there were "no scars" after the removal.

RELATED North Korea warns of torrential rain after weeks of drought

Kim's bandaged neck was first seen in photos published by North Korean state media on Friday. The images showed Kim conducting the military workshop, which took place from July 24 to last Tuesday.

Speculation rose in South Korea that Kim was suffering from a tumor on the back of his head, according to MoneyToday. Kim's biological grandfather had a baseball-sized growth on his neck weeks before he died in 1994.

Pictures of Kim Jong Un taken in 2015 also showed a similar swelling on his neck. Seoul's spy agency at the time said the rumor of Kim's health was "not a confirmed fact," the report said.

Advertisement
RELATED Chinese boat detained by authorities after suspected North Korea activity

Kim's bandage was gone by the time he visited the Sino-Korean Friendship Tower Wednesday, when he paid tribute to fallen Chinese soldiers during the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported Tuesday that there were no scars visible on Kim's neck during the visit, but that a tiny black scar could be seen in the area in the latter days of the military workshop.

Experts have said Kim's health has significant implications for the two Koreas. Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, is believed to have died after cardiac arrest in 2011.

RELATED North Korea showed ICBM launch in brief video, report says

Latest Headlines