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According to the North Korean state media outlet, The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim Jong Un has resurfaced after weeks of speculation surrounding his health.
It was reported that Kim attended a ceremony marking the completion of a fertilizer factory in Suncheon, near the capital of Pyongyang, with officials as well as his sister, Kim Yo Jong.
However, the reports have not been independently verified and images from the ceremony were not immediately released. State media also continued to state that their leader was continuing to conduct official activities privately.
While South Korea has yet to comment about the reported appearance of the North’s leader, Kim Yeon Chul – South Korea’s unification minister – stated earlier this week, “Our government has enough information-gathering capabilities to say confidently that there is nothing unusual.”
This was a significant statement coming from South Korea, which usually avoids commenting on the North’s affairs.
Rumors of Kim’s poor health had been further fuelled by the media as well as United States President Donald Trump’s seeming reluctance to address questions, saying “I can’t tell you exactly. Yes, I do have a very good idea, but I can’t talk about it now.”
In 2014, Kim Jong Un disappeared for over a month only to resurface holding a cane.
In 2015, a North Korean defector claimed that Kim had had his aunt, Kim Kyong Hui, poisoned, but she ended up being spotted in January of the following year.
In 2008, after Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un’s father, disappeared for several months, South Korean analysts and media speculated that he had had a stroke and this turned out to be true. Kim Jong Il ended up dying three months later.