Exclusive: China sent team including medical experts to advise on North Korea’s Kim, sources say

Reuters
Date: APRIL 24, 2020

FILE PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks as he takes part in a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 11, 2020. KCNA/via REUTERS/File Photo

BEIJING/SEOUL (Reuters) – China has dispatched a team to North Korea including medical experts to advise on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to three people familiar with the situation.

FILE PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks as he takes part in a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 11, 2020. KCNA/via REUTERS/File Photo

The trip by the Chinese doctors and officials comes amid conflicting reports about the health of the North Korean leader. Reuters was unable to immediately determine what the trip by the Chinese team signaled in terms of Kim’s health.

A delegation led by a senior member of the Chinese Communist Party’s International Liaison Department left Beijing for North Korea on Thursday, two of the people said. The department is the main Chinese body dealing with neighbouring North Korea.

The sources declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.

The Liaison Department could not be reached by Reuters for comment late on Friday. China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment late on Friday.

Daily NK, a Seoul-based website, reported earlier this week that Kim was recovering after undergoing a cardiovascular procedure on April 12. It cited one unnamed source in North Korea.

South Korean government officials and a Chinese official with the Liaison Department challenged subsequent reports suggesting that Kim was in grave danger after surgery. South Korean officials said they had detected no signs of unusual activity in North Korea.    [FULL  STORY]

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