PRESIDENT Trump said Thursday that claims of Kim Jong-un being in grave danger is "fake news."
The North Korean leader was fighting for his life after undergoing surgery, CNN reported earlier this week.
However, Trump bashed the report and the cable network during his daily press briefing.
"I think it was a fake report done by CNN," Trump told reporters.
When pressed by a CNN reporter, he added: "CNN is fake news. Don't talk to me."
A South Korean official told the country’s Yonhap news agency that Kim was not seriously ill, according to The New York Post.
Kim recently missed the celebration of his grandfather's birthday on April 15, according to CNN, which fueled speculation about his health.
"We're monitoring these reports very closely," National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien told Fox News on Tuesday.
"As you know, North Korea is a very closed society."
Daily NK, an online newspaper based in South Korea, reported that Kim may have undergone a procedure on April 12.
The surgery took place because of his "excessive smoking, obesity, and overwork," according to the outlet.
"There have been a number of recent rumors about Kim's health [smoking, heart, and brain]," Bruce Klingner of the Heritage Foundation told CNN.
"If Kim is hospitalized, it would explain why he wasn't present on the important April 15th celebrations.
"But, over the years, there have been a number of false health rumors about Kim Jong-un or his father.
"We'll have to wait and see."
Kim, who is 36, has been out of the public eye for extended periods in the past, and North Korea’s secretive nature allows few outsiders to assert confidently whether he might be unwell or incapacitated.
He is the third generation of his family to rule over North Korea.
His younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, is most likely to step in if her brother is gravely ill or dies.
Some experts say a collective leadership is plausible.
“Among the North’s power elite, Kim Yo Jong has the highest chance to inherit power, and I think that possibility is more than 90 per cent,” said analyst Cheong Seong-Chang at the private Sejong Institute in South Korea.
“North Korea is like a dynasty, and we can view the Paektu descent as royal blood so it’s unlikely for anyone to raise any issue over Kim Yo Jong taking power.”
Kim Yo Jong is in charge of North Korea’s propaganda affairs.
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