Washington/Seoul: US President Donald Trump said that he knew how North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was doing amid rising speculation that he may be gravely ill, but refused to offer any other details, saying “can’t talk about it”, the media reported on Tuesday.
“I do have a very good idea, but I can’t talk about it now. I just wish him well. I’ve had a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un,” the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency quoted Trump as saying during a White House press conference on Monday.
“I hope he’s fine. I do know how he’s doing, relatively speaking. You will probably be hearing in the not too distant future,” he said.
But Trump later added: “Nobody knows where he is.”
On April 21, Trump had said that the US didn’t know if the reports about Kim’s failing health were true.
Two days later, he said he believed the report by CNN was “incorrect”, which had cited a US official as saying that Washington was looking into intelligence that Kim was in “grave danger” after surgery.
Kim has been out of public view since April 11 when he presided over a politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party, said the Yonhap News Agency report.
His absence from an April 15 commemoration of the birthday of his late grandfather, North Korea founder Kim Il-sung, sparked speculation that there may be something wrong with his health.
South Korean officials have insisted that there was nothing unusual happening inside the regime.
Trump and Kim Jong-un have met three times since June 2018 to try to reach a deal on denuclearizing North Korea in exchange for US sanctions relief.
But negotiations have faltered since their second summit in Vietnam in February 2019 ended without a deal due to differences over the scope of their actions.
Last month Trump sent a letter to the North Korean leader to offer US assistance with COVID-19.
North Korea has at least publicly not accepted the offer while insisting it has no cases of the coronavirus in the country.