There's been a lot interest on the health of North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong Un in the past few weeks, with his name even trending on Twitter.
Rumours had it that he underwent a heart surgery and was in a serious condition after. Some alleged that he was hiding out in Wonsan, an island in the country, to avoid the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, on 27 April, top foreign policy adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Moon Chung-in, reportedly told news agencies in the United States that the rumours were not true.
CNN and several other news outlets reported Moon saying that "Kim Jong Un is alive and well. He has been staying in the Wonsan area since 13 April. No suspicious movements have so far been detected."
The strong belief that Kim is staying in the tourist island of Wonsan came as he expressed his gratitute towards the staff working there, a news piece published in the country's official news channel Rodong Sinmun.
We were also curious as to why South Korea would release a statement on the health and whereabouts of the North Korean leader, and we found the answer in this Al Jazeera article.
South Korea's Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul had apparently said that the country has enough "intelligence capabilities" to be sure that nothing unusual or big is happening in the North.
Why the sudden interest in Kim Jong Un's health?
North Korea has always been an interest to the world simply because not much is known about the country that seems to be content to stay away from the rest of the world.
However, the recent interest in Kim's wherabouts and health came after he missed the biggest event in the country: the celebration of his grandfather Kim Il-sung's birthday on 15 April.
Then, last Saturday (25 April), CBS News reported that he was also absent from the "Army Day" celebrations, the second major holiday Kim had missed in recent weeks.
Rumours about his health started surfacing when a South Korean news portal reported that Kim was in critical condition after undergoing a heart surgery.
According to Japanese media Shukan Gendai, the 36-year-old reportedly "clutched his chest and fell to the ground" on a visit to the countryside earlier this month.
A doctor who was accompanying him reportedly performed CPR and took him to a nearby hospital, where he underwent a stent procedure (a surgery to place a tube into a congested blood vessel to allow blood to keep flowing to the heart).
This was, however, refuted by some, like famous North Korean defector (a citizen who leaves his/her country especially to join an opposing one and is considered illegal by the first country) Yeonmi Park, who alleged that Kim was hiding out so he doesn't infected with COVID-19.
"The most cowardly and selfish dictator Kim Jong Un is not dead or even sick according to my source. He is hiding out in a fear of getting a Corona virus. Despite lying to the world that there is a zero case of Corona virus, it has been spreading uncontrollably within North Korea," she claimed in a Facebook post.
Very unfortunate news everyone. As much as I want to believe the general media, facts don’t care about feelings, and I...
Posted by Yeonmi Park on Sunday, 26 April 2020
Who then is Kim Yo Jong?
If you have been keeping up with what's happening in North Korea, it's likely that you would have come across mentions of Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong.
Several news agencies have speculated that she may become the country's first female dictator, but like everything else surrounding the mysterious events in North Korea, it is merely guesswork.
Interestingly, some say that she is even worse than her brother and is a favourite of their father, late leader Kim Jong Il.
According to Financial Times, she has been groomed since her teens to fill a big position in the country's government and her increased appearances in important events and meetings shows that she is rising through the ranks fast.
However, questions has also been raised whether a woman will be accepted as the leader of the country by Pyongyang's military and political elites.
It's mostly speculation
There are so many rumours and allegations regarding the mortality of the North Korean leader as well as who his successor would be but it's all seem to be just conjecture at this point.
Miss one event and everyone start wondering if you're dead!
We guess we'll just have to wait for the official announcement regarding's Kim Jong Un's health.