A top senator said he would be “shocked” if North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is not dead or incapacitated.
Kim has not been seen publicly in two weeks and North Korean media have been silent on the matter.
A CNN report last week said Kim is in grave condition and the United States was monitoring intelligence of his surgery, but President Trump said on Thursday he believed the report was “incorrect.” Still, reports swirled on Saturday claiming Kim is either in a vegetative state after receiving heart surgery or dead.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, t he chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Saturday evening he did not have any direct knowledge about Kim’s condition but noted the extended silence from North Korea is very telling.
“It’s a closed society. I haven’t heard anything directly, but I’ll be shocked if he’s not dead or in some incapacitated state because you don’t let rumors like this go forever or go unanswered in a closed society which is really a cult, not a country, called north Korea,” the South Carolina Republican told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro.
“So I pretty well believe Kim Jong-Un is not dead or incapacitated. And I hope the long suffering north Korean people will get some relief if he is dead,” he said.
“President Trump is willing to do business with North Korea in a win-win fashion. So if this guy is dead, I hope the guy who takes over will work with President Trump to make North Korea a better place for everybody,” Graham added.
Kim, 36, was already known to be in very poor general health as a heavy smoker weighing about 300 pounds and somewhere in the height range of 5’7″ to 5’8″. That would make him morbidly obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more susceptible to major health issues.
He was absent from the public on Friday while the country’s state-run media celebrated the 88th anniversary of the country’s armed forces.
South Korean officials have said there is no evidence that Kim is unwell, although intelligence services in South Korea, as well as the United States, are monitoring the reports. Reuters reported China has dispatched a team of officials and medical experts to North Korea.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who appeared on Pirro’s show right after Graham, refused to comment on reports about Kim’s health condition. Conway said she would leave it to the National Security Council or Trump to make any announcements.