A news article published by a satirical news website claiming that the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, was killed by a suicide bomber has been refuted as a publicity stunt by South Korean officials, it was reported on 18 June. The article on the East Asia Tribuneentitled North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Dead After Apparent Suicide Attack – joked the leader of the Hermit Nation had been killed by a woman during a ceremony in Pyongyang, who broke through a security cordon and detonated a bomb.

"Mr Kim's bodyguards drew their weapons, but before they had a chance to fire upon the female, she detonated a device which is believed to be a suicide belt," the satire site said. East Asia Tribune also claimed that Kim was "pronounced dead" upon arrival at hospital.

A spokesperson for the South Korean Ministry of National Defense, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the ministry had attempted to verify the report. "As far as we know, it is not true," said the spokesperson, according to the Korea JoongAng Daily.

"We cannot verify the credentials of this news agency. It looks like just a petty move to capture the public's attention," they continued.

It follows recent comments, made on 7 June by South Korean defence chief, Han Min-koo, who recently claimed that the North Korean leader was "too brash and inexperienced" and that his impulsive nature posed a serious cause for concern for the South.

Another source told JoongAng Daily that the supreme leader was alive and well, before stating South Korean intelligence would have known about the suicide bombing if it had actually happened.

Meanwhile on 14 June, North Korea reportedly shut down a theme park in Pyongyang after it apparently "kept reminding" the country's leader of his slain uncle, Jang Song-Thaek.

kim jong un north korea nuclear
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a performance of schoolchildren to celebrate the 70th founding anniversary of the Korean Children's Union (KCU) KCNA/via REUTERS