N Korea’s Kim Jong Un makes first ‘public appearance’ in weeks

State media report Kim attended the completion of a fertiliser plant after weeks of speculation over his health.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made his first public appearance in 20 days, North Korean state media reported early on Saturday, ending an absense that sparked speculation about his health.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Kim attended a ceremony marking the completion of a fertiliser factory in Suncheon, near the capital of Pyongyang, with other senior officials, including his sister, Kim Yo Jong.
KCNA said Kim cut a ribbon at the ceremony on Friday and those attending the event “burst into thunderous cheers of ‘hurrah!’ for the Supreme Leader who is commanding the all-people general march for accomplishing the great cause of prosperity.”

Kim was seen in photographs smiling and talking to aides at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and also touring the plant.

The authenticity of the photos, published on the website of the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, could not be verified.

Asked about the KCNA report, US President Donald Trump said: “I’d rather not comment on it yet.”

 

Rumours about the North Korean leader’s health swirled after he missed the April 15 birthday celebration for his late grandfather Kim Il Sung, the country’s most important holiday, for the first time since he took power in 2011.

Without publishing images, state media reported that Kim Jong Un was carrying out routine activities outside public view, such as sending greetings to the leaders of Syria, Cuba and South Africa and expressing gratitude to workers building tourist facilities in the coastal town of Wonsan, where some speculated he was staying.

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