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North Korea's Kim Jong-un Sends 'verbal Message' To China's Xi Jinping, But doubts Persist

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has sent a verbal message to Chinese President Xi Jinping, praising Beijing on its success in stopping Covid-19 spread.

Kim Jong-un

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has sent a verbal message to Chinese President Xi Jinping, praising Beijing on its success in stopping Covid-19 spread, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported on Thursday.

'and thus a final victory...'

In a message, Kim "congratulated him (Jinping), highly appreciating that he is seizing a chance of victory in the war against the unprecedented epidemic," according to the Korean Central News Agency. "Kim Jong Un wished Xi Jinping good health, expressing a conviction that the Chinese party and people would cement the successes made so far and steadily expand them and thus win a final victory under the wise guidance of Xi Jinping," it added.

The agency did not clarify how the message has been delivered to the Chinese president. This is a second time Kim has sent a message to Xi with regard to the Coronavirus this year. In January, he conveyed his support and unspecified aid for Beijing's fight against the virus.

Last week, Kim Jong-un made his 'first public appearance' after 20 days of absence. The report of Kim's illness started doing rounds following his absence at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang on the birthday of late state founder and his grandfather, Kim Il-sung. 

READ | North Korea defectors face criticism for wrongly speculating Kim Jong Un's death

Kim Jong Un’s absence has led to a flurry of speculations about his health and whereabouts and now internet users have ‘serious doubts’ whether he has been using a body double at his recent public engagements. Kim recently attended an event at a fertilizer factory which was also the first report of his appearing in public since April 11. His ‘mysterious’ missing from that public amid the coronavirus pandemic and his rumoured heart surgery has led to a number of conspiracy theories.

READ | Kim Jong-un's appearance after mysterious 20-day absence fuels body-double speculation

Meanwhile, a South Korean spy agency reportedly said that the supreme leader of North Korea did not receive heart surgery when he disappeared from state media for three weeks. According to international media reports, the members of South Korea’s parliamentary intelligence committee after meeting with the National Intelligence Service (NIS) said that the reports were ‘groundless’.

READ | South Korea's spy agency says there are no signs that Kim Jong Un had heart surgery

While speaking to an international media outlet, committee member Kim Byung-kee said that the NIS assess that at least Kim Jong Un did not get any heart-related procedure or surgery. Byung-kee added that Kim was normally performing his duties when he was out of the public eye.

READ | Russian President Putin honours Kim Jong Un with commemorative WWII medal

(With agency inputs)

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