Kim Jong-Un appears to have made his first public appearance in 20 days. In newly released photos, the North Korean leader is seen at a fertilizer plant with his sister Kim Jo Jong.
Kim Jong-Un, 36, has resurfaced in newly published photos. The Supreme Leader of North Korea attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for a fertilizer plant in the city of Sunchon, and happily posed for pictures released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency. In the images, which the agency reports were taken on Friday, May 1, the 36-year-old son of Kim Jong-il was all-smiles as he shared a laugh with officials. He could also be seen cutting the celebratory red ribbon with sister Kim Yo Jong to his right, as well as standing in an outdoor area of the new facility. While the images are newly released, HollywoodLife has not been able to independently verify the date of Kim Jong-Un’s appearance where the photos would have been taken.
The North Korean leader has been subject to unconfirmed rumors about his health in recent weeks, with speculation that he was either dead or in a “vegetative state” following a heart surgery, the New York Times writes. Kim Jong-Un was notably absent for the countries’ Day of the Sun celebrations on April 15, which marks both the birthday of his grandfather and North Korean founder, Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994. Other unconfirmed rumors suggested that North Korean doctors had sent the leader of the Workers’ Party to Pyongyang, China for additional medical help, the paper notes. Kim Jong-Un was last publicly seen on April 11.
“All the participants again burst into thunderous cheers of ‘hurrah’,” the NYT reports that the Korean Centra News Agency said in a release. “[Kim Jong-Un was] warmly acknowledged the builders and masses raising thunderous cheers.” The newspaper added that apparently no outside press was on-site for the event, however, it is commonplace for the KCNA to first report a public appearance, then follow with a photo release a day later.
The release also described Kim Jong-Un’s visit, saying that he was accompanied by both his sister and other senior Worker’s Party officials who toured the fertilizer plant. Despite rumors about his failing health, the NYT said that North Korea has sent out both gifts and letters in their leaders’ name in the last two weeks.