May 04, 2020 11:44
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's reappearance on May 1 to open a fertilizer plant in Sunchon north of Pyongyang quelled premature rumors of his demise, but a new spot on his wrist keeps the rumor mill in overdrive.
The brown spot measuring around 0.5 cm can be spotted on Kim's right wrist in state TV footage. It is round and clear, suggesting it was not caused by an accidental injury.
The spot was not visible when Kim was attending a Workers Party meeting on April 11. Some cardiovascular experts surmise that it was made by a thick needle penetrating the skin and may be the result of a coronary angiography.
Kim Moo-hyun at the Korean Society of Interventional Cardiology said, "Based on the shape and location, there is an 80-percent chance that it was caused by an angiography."
Kim was also slightly dragging his left foot at certain times during the ceremony, and his wrist and face appeared swollen. But doctors admit an accurate diagnosis based those signs alone is impossible.
A senior Cheong Wa Dae official said Sunday, "There are news reports that [Kim] had surgery based on observations that he walked differently, but we believe such reports are inaccurate."
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump said he is "glad" Kim is back. "I, for one, am glad to see he is back, and well!" Trump tweeted.
The New York Times said Saturday the rumors just show "how little the world knows about what's happening" in the reclusive country and "how vulnerable it is to misinformation about it."
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