North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has finally appeared in public since speculation about his health began last month.
KCNA reported that he was cutting the ribbon at the opening of a fertilizer factory on Saturday.
Kim “attended the ceremony” on Friday and “all the participants broke into thunderous cheers of ‘hurrah!’” when he appeared, the Korean Central News Agency said.
He also inspected the facility and was “briefed about the production processes,” the report said.
Kim expressed delight over the development, speaking with deep emotion” that his grandfather Kim Il Sung and father Kim Jong Il “would be greatly pleased if they heard the news that the modern phosphatic fertilizer factory has been built,” KCNA added.
Kim, who has not been seen in public presiding over a Workers’ Party politburo meeting on April 11,was reported in the following day by the state media that he was inspecting fighter jets at an air defence unit.
Speculation grew about his health grew since his conspicuous no-show at April 15 celebrations for the birthday of his grandfather Kim Il Sung, the North’s founder — the most important day in the country’s political calendar.
Recall that a top security advisor to South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in had said a week ago that Kim was “alive and well,” downplaying rumors that he was ill or incapacitated.
Also, the advisor, Moon Chung-in, in an interview with CNN said that Kim had been staying in Wonsan — a resort town in the east of North Korea — since April 13, adding that there has not been suspicious movements have so far been detected.
Daily NK, an online media outlet owned and controlled by North Korean defectors, had reported Kim was undergoing treatment after a cardiovascular procedure last month.
Citing an unidentified source inside the country, it said Kim, who is in his mid-30s, had needed urgent treatment due to heavy smoking, obesity, and fatigue.