China sent doctors to advise on North Korea’s Kim, sources say

China has dispatched a team to North Korea including medical experts to advise on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Reuters reported on Saturday, citing three people familiar with the situation. According to them a delegation led by a senior member of the Chinese Communist Party’s International Liaison Department left Beijing for North Korea on Thursday. The department is the main Chinese body dealing with neighbouring North Korea.

The trip by the Chinese doctors and officials comes amid conflicting reports about the health of the North Korean leader. Reuters was unable to immediately determine what the trip by the Chinese team signaled in terms of Kim’s health. China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment late on Friday.

Daily NK, a Seoul-based website, reported earlier this week that Kim was recovering after undergoing a cardiovascular procedure on 12 April. It cited one unnamed source in North Korea.

South Korean government officials and a Chinese official with the Liaison Department challenged subsequent reports suggesting that Kim was in grave danger after surgery. South Korean officials said they had detected no signs of unusual activity in North Korea.

On Thursday, the US President Donald Trump also downplayed earlier reports that Kim was gravely ill. “I think the report was incorrect,” Trump told reporters, but he declined to say if he had been in touch with North Korean officials.

On Friday, a South Korean source told Reuters their intelligence was that Kim was alive and would likely make an appearance soon.

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