Satellite images raise questions about North Korean leader's health

Satellite images raise questions about North Korean leader's health
© Getty

Satellite images of North Korea published Saturday are raising more questions about the health of the country’s leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnNorth Korean showcases shirtless soldiers lying on broken glass, smashing bricks on head North Korea's Kim rips US, promises 'invincible' military North Korea's Kim notes 'grim' economy while marking anniversary of ruling party MORE.

A train most likely belonging to Kim was visible at his family’s reserved railway station in Wonsan, the Washington-based monitoring project 38 North said in a release. The train was present in photos taken on April 21 and 23, meaning it arrived sometime before April 21.

The website that studies North Korea said the train appeared to be prepared for departure, although it was unclear when the train is expected to leave. 


“The train’s presence does not prove the whereabouts of the North Korean leader or indicate anything about his health, but it does lend weight to reports that Kim is staying at an elite area on the country’s eastern coast,” 38 North said.

The satellite images do not directly address the speculation that has been circulating regarding Kim’s health after he missed one of North Korea’s biggest holidays on April 15, the celebration of his late grandfather Kim Il Sung’s birthday. He was last seen in public on April 11. 

The project’s photos do back up South Korean intelligence that the leader is staying outside the capital. 

A U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that the latest rumors on the North Korean leader have not moved the U.S. analysis of the information beyond “speculation.” Experts have discounted the rumors that Kim is in poor health.

Kim once disappeared from the public eye for six weeks in 2014 before reappearing with a cane. South Korea’s spy agency said he went through a cyst removal, the AP reported.