'Removal' of portraits and statue in North Korea square sparks new rumours over health of Kim Jong-un

New rumours abound over health of North Korea's Kim Jong-un (PA)
New rumours abound over health of North Korea's Kim Jong-un (PA)
23:45pm, Sat 16 May 2020
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Activity in Kim Il-Sung Square in Pyongyang has re-ignited speculation about the health - and whereabouts - of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The removal of two massive portraits of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il - Kim's grandfather and father respectively - were reported by the Seoul-based and US-backed NK News website yesterday.

And it was further reported a statue of Kim Jong-il had also been removed.

 Journalist Roy Calley told Express.co.uk: "The last time that happened was when the place was being renovated following the death of the Dear Leader.

"The fact that portraits have been removed is very interesting. Kim Jong-un can't have any statues or portraits unless he's dead.

"I'm guessing (and only that) they are preparing to add a third statue and portrait, but who knows?"

According to NK News, satellite pictures taken on Monday showed the main observation deck where senior officials watch military parades have been demolished.

It was also claimed the western side of the square was closed off to traffic.

The developments follow a period of intense speculation about 36-year-old Kim Jong-un's health.

Speculation has ranged from him being in a coma after a botched operation to widespread rumours that he was dead after he missed the birthday celebrations for Kim Il-sung, the nation's founder, on April 15 - something he had never previously done.

Then, after a 20-day absence, he reappeared  with footage apparently showing him opening a fertiliser factory in Pyong Yong.

However, pictures of him with strange marks on his wrists led to further conjecture of surgery and even body doubles being used to ‘prove’ he was still alive.

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