Rumors spread across microblogging service Twitter and its Chinese counterpart Weibo on Friday, claiming that North-Korean leader Kim Jong-un was assassinated.
Messages were rampant the on social networking sites after a person wrote on Weibo that Kim was killed (loose translation, as quoted by Reuters): “north korea’s biggest leader kim jung un, this morning in beijing time 2:45 am, had his residence broken into and was assassinated by unidentified people, who were shot dead by his bodyguards in korea’s embassy in beijing, vehicles are rapidly increasing in number, and have surpassed 30 of them, this sort of battle formation hasn’t been seen in over two years. please verify this.”
“According to reliable sources, North Korean leader [Kim Jong-Un was killed] in Beijing in February 10 2012, at 2 o’clock and 45 minutes. Unknown persons broke into his residence shot and were subsequently shot and killed by the bodyguard,” one Tweet claimed.
The rumors remained unconfirmed, but have attracted much attention, when the press began to write about the subject.
U.S. officials said that they believed the claim to be untrue. So far, no reliable sources have given the rumor any credence.
“There’s nothing to this, ” said one U.S. official, who added that there were no indications that the reports were true.
Another U.S. official said, “Our experts are monitoring the situation and we see no abnormal activity on the [Korean] peninsula and nothing that credits that tweet as accurate.”
Kim Jong-un succeeded his father, Kim Jong-il, who died on December 17 after a heart attack at the age of 69.
Since the death of his father, the North Korean press has launched a campaign to create a cult of personality around the young leader, as it previously happened with his father and grandfather.