Rumors of Kim Jong-un assassination don’t add up

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Rumors of Kim Jong-un assassination don’t add up

A rumor spread across social networking services all over the world that North Korea’s successor Kim Jong-un was assassinated by armed terrorists in China, which was proved to be groundless by U.S. officials.

According to overseas broadcasts from the BBC and CNN, a post went up on Friday on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, that Kim was killed by gunmen at around 2:45 a.m. on Friday in front of the North Korean embassy in Beijing and that his bodyguards subsequently shot and killed the gunmen on the spot.

More than 380,000 Twitter-users retweeted the post and spread it across Europe, the BBC said.

British newspaper Daily Mail reported that the rumor apparently stemmed from a post on Sina Weibo from a man working nearby the North Korean embassy in Beijing, which read: “Downstairs from the office, the cars at the Korean embassy are increasing rapidly, now there are over 30 cars. It’s the first time I’ve seen this situation, did something happen in Korea?”

A senior U.S. official shot down the rumor in an interview with CNN on Friday, local time.

“There is no evidence of movement of North Korean forces or activity that you would associate with the turmoil of a calculated assassination,” the official said, on the condition of anonymity.

“It’s a closed society, but at this point we do not believe it’s true.”

The CNN also reported that analysts said the rumor could be a part of efforts to disrupt the economy of South Korea during a sensitive succession period for the communist neighbor.


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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