Chiu Kuo-cheng, Taiwan's National Security Bureau (NSB) director-general, refuted claims Kim Jong-un was dead after media outlets across the Far East reported he had died following complications during heart surgery. But Mr Chiu admitted the crackpot despot was "sick", however laughed and dodged the question when he was asked whether Kim, 36, is alive, according to reports.
Mr Chiu told Kuomintang (KMT) chairman Chiang Chi-chen he would not discuss the situation in the hermit state further in public because it risked compromising a source.
But he brushed off claims of a power struggle in the event of Kim's death to replace him, saying political turbulence would only last a brief period because contingency plans were already in place.
Details remain very sketchy but over the weekend media outlets in China and Japan reported the 36-year-old dictator was dead.
Vice director of HKSTV Hong Kong Satellite Television Shijian Xingzou said a 'very solid source' has told her the North Korea leader was dead.
Great Big Lockdown Survey: Tell us what life's like for you by answering THESE questions
Kim Jong-un is reportedly dead according to sources in the Far East (Image: GETTY )
Kim Jong-un's health has been under the spotlight for weeks (Image: GETTY )
Other sources said he was on his death bed in a vegetative state with no hope of resuscitation after botched heart surgery.
Meanwhile, Thae Yong-ho, a former North Korean diplomat, has claimed the leader "can't stand himself or walk properly".
Kim's health is a state secret in insular North Korea and speculation about him or his family can invite swift retribution.
A source told Daily NK, North Korea's silence to reports was "strange".
READ MORE: 'Kim Jong-un dead' – multiple sources claim North Korean dictator died
South Korea officials say Kim Jong-un is alive and well (Image: GETTY )
Create your own survey