Washington, United States:
US President Donald Trump rejected reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was sick on Thursday and criticized his frequent arch-enemy CNN for leading the story.
"I think the report was wrong, just let me put it that way," Trump told reporters. "I hear they used old documents."
Trump declined to say if he knew straight from North Korea that Kim was fine.
Instead, he attacked the CNN cable communications network, with which the U.S. leader has a close relationship.
"I think it was a fake report from CNN," Trump said at a daily meeting about the coronavirus pandemic before refusing to answer further questions from a network journalist.
CNN cited an anonymous US official and reported Monday that Washington "is monitoring" intelligence agencies that Kim is "at high risk" after an operation.
Daily NK, an online media company mainly operated by North Korean defectors, said separately that Kim had cardiovascular surgery earlier this month and was recovering in a villa in North Phyongan Province.
It was said that Kim, in her mid 30s, was in urgent need of treatment because of heavy smoking, obesity and fatigue.
Trump's rejection of the report came two days after he refused to comment, saying only that he wished Kim all the best.
South Korea, which is still technically at war with the north, previously said it could not confirm the reports about Kim and had not reported any unusual movements in its neighbor.
Trump met and expressed admiration for Kim three times at a historic summit, despite hopes of a widespread agreement.
"I hope he doesn't have any medical problems. I hope he doesn't have any. I got on very well with him," Trump said on Thursday.
"Remember you would have been at war with North Korea if I hadn't been elected president."
Trump declined to say the last time he was in touch with Kim and said, "We have a good relationship with North Korea as best you can."