US intelligence agencies are monitoring reports that North Korea's Kim Jong Un might be gravely ill.
The dictator did not attend an April 15 celebration of his grandfather's birthday - the communist nation's most important holiday. He was last seen in public on North Korean state media four days earlier.
Reports from a South Korean newspaper say Kim underwent a cardiovascular procedure on April 12 to treat conditions related to "excessive smoking, obesity and overwork." Kim is only in his mid-30s.
Kim is said to be recovering at a villa, but no one can independently confirm the reports because the North Korean regime has completely closed off the country from the rest of the world.
And the South Korean government says it has not detected any unusual activity in North Korea that might indicate the country is bracing for any significant change.
“We have no information to confirm regarding rumors about Chairman Kim Jong Un’s health issue that have been reported by some media outlets. Also, no unusual developments have been detected inside North Korea,” South Korean spokesman Kang Min-seok said.