Kim Jong-un Makes First Public Appearance In 20 Days
Kim Jong-un has made his first public appearance in 20 days, putting any rumours of his death to bed.
Rumours of the North Korean leader’s death had been circulating for weeks following Kim reportedly suffering complications after undergoing open heart surgery, something which was never confirmed by North Korea.
However, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported yesterday, May 1, the 36-year-old had attended the opening of a new fertiliser factory, proving he was in fact alive and well in the process.
Kim Jong-un cut the ribbon to commemorate the factory’s opening which, according to KCNA, was followed by ‘thunderous cheers of hurrah’ from those in attendance.
The state media then released pictures of Kim Jong-un cutting the ribbon and confirming he was at the event.
This will have been the first public appearance of the North Korean leader since he was last seen in public on April 12.
While KNCA reported that the ceremony’s participants were ‘full of enthusiasm’ to see Kim Jong-un, it failed to comment on the 36-year-old’s whereabouts for the past 20 days.
It’s believed Kim has been staying in Wonsan since April 13, following reports that his personal train had been parked within the region.
Rumours around the North Korean leader’s health first began when he failed to attend the birth anniversary celebrations of his grandfather, state founder Kim Il Sung on April 15; something that is seen as one of the biggest events in the North Korean calendar.
Claims of Kim Jong-un’s ill-health then reportedly surfaced on a North Korean defectors website, BBC News reports.
In addition to this, an anonymous source told Daily NK Kim Jong-un had been struggling with cardiovascular issues since August last year and had apparently worsened after several trips to Mount Paektu.
This information was then snowballed by global media outlets, with some reporting the North Korean leader had died.
Prior to his public appearance yesterday, a letter released by North Korean media to prove their Supreme Leader was actually alive.
The Rodong Sinmun, the North Korea’s main newspaper, wrote, via Yonhap News Agency:
Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un has sent his appreciation to the workers who devoted themselves to building the Wonsan-Kalma tourist zone.
While this isn’t the strongest evidence they could have provided to prove Kim was still alive, the photographs from yesterday reaffirm this.
With little information given on Kim Jong-un’s health in recent weeks, people even began speculating who the 36-year-old’s successor would be, with many arguing it would have been his sister, Kim Yo-jong.
Experts said she would be a ‘God-like tyrant’ if she ever came to power.
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