Kim Jong-Un pictured at 'first public appearance' after death claims

1 May 2020, 22:43

Kim Jong-Un reportedly made his first public appearance since April 12
Kim Jong-Un reportedly made his first public appearance since April 12. Picture: Rodong Sinmun

By Megan White

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has made his first public appearance in 20 days after rumours of his death, the country's state media has said.

There has been much speculation over the dictator's health after he disappeared from the public eye on 11 April following a ruling party meeting to discuss coronavirus prevention.

But pictures which were allegedly taken on Friday showed him attending a completion ceremony at a fertiliser factory in Sunchon, a city in South Pyongan Province.

North Korea's state radio station said he had conducted the inspection visit to mark International Workers' Day.

Kim Jong-Un reportedly cuts the ribbon at a fertiliser factory in Sunchon on Friday
Kim Jong-Un reportedly cuts the ribbon at a fertiliser factory in Sunchon on Friday. Picture: KCNA

Rumours of his ill health began after the leader did not attend the Day of the Sun celebration on 15 April, which marks the birthday of Kim Il-sung, his grandfather and the founder of the country.

South Korea's government had downplayed rumours and unconfirmed reports that Kim was in poor health following a medical procedure, saying it had detected no unusual activity in the North.

The office of President Moon Jae-in said it detected no unusual signs in North Korea or any emergency reaction by the country's ruling party, military and cabinet.

It said it believed Kim was still managing state affairs but staying at an unspecified location outside Pyongyang.

Without publishing images, state media reported that Kim has been 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.

It was not immediately clear what caused Kim's absence in recent weeks.

In 2014, Kim vanished from the public eye for nearly six weeks and then reappeared with a cane. South Korea's spy agency said he had a cyst removed from his ankle.

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