A viral photo circulating on social media purporting to show Kim Jong Un’s lifeless body being displayed in a glass coffin is really showing a different North Korean leader, a report points out.
As the New York Post noted, the picture that many have used as apparent proof that Kim has died is actually close to a decade old and shows his father, Kim Jong Il. The report noted that the photo currently making the rounds on social media appears to be a doctored version of one taken at the elder Kim’s funeral in 2011 after he died of a heart attack, leaving his son to rule the country.
The picture had been used in a number of reports over the weekend claiming Kim had died after a botched heart surgery.
“The image shows the man covered by a red blanket and with his head resting on a pillow,” the report noted.
“Many social media posts have attributed the image to both Japanese network JNN and Hong Kong Satellite TV, although its actual origin was unclear, according to the UK outlet.”
The New York Post added that the doctored image had been shared on Twitter in October 2017. This doctored photo added to the confusion about Kim’s health, with a series of conflicting reports on whether he was alive or dead.
A number of international reports claimed that Kim had died after a cardiovascular procedure that allegedly went awry following what may have been a heart attack. These reports were then disputed by South Korean government officials and President Donald Trump, who said over the weekend that he believed the reports were based on old information and then later this week said he believed he knew the real story about Kim’s condition, implying that he was still alive.
“I can’t tell you, exactly — yes, I do have a very good idea, but I can’t talk about it now. I just wish him well,” Trump said, via CNN.
A subsequent report claimed that Kim is still alive but has gone into hiding as he tries to avoid an outbreak of coronavirus in the country. Some South Korean reports claimed that his private train had been seen in a resort town in North Korea, with some reports claiming that Kim himself had been seen walking there.
The North Korean government has added to the confusion by remaining tight-lipped on the health of its leader, not issuing any statement either confirming or denying the reports.