North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has made his first public appearance in around 20-days following speculation the dictator had died. The country’s state news agency KCNA said on Saturday the dictator attended the completion of a fertilizer plant in a region north of the capital, Pyongyang, in the first report of his public activity since April 11. They reported the despot cut the ribbon at the opening. However, a photograph of the leader at the event has yet to be released. Kim “attended the ceremony” on Friday and “all participants broke into thunderous cheers of hurrah!” when he appeared, the Korean Central News Agency said.
He was accompanied by several senior North Korean officials, including his younger sister Kim Yo Jong, according to KCNA.
US President Donald Trump said after the report he will have something to say about Kim at the appropriate time.
There has been widespread speculation about Kim Jong-un’s health after he missed the birth anniversary celebrations of state founder Kim Il-sung on April 15.
The day is a major holiday in North Korea and Kim as leader usually pays a visit to the mausoleum where his grandfather lies in state.
Speculation over the welfare of the North Korean leader begun after sources claimed Kim had undgergone cardiovascular surgery.
Some sources claimed there had been complications during surgery after he missed the celebration.
Moreover, a recent viral image that supposedly showed Kim Jong-un dead in a glass coffin set off the rumours once again.
The image appeared to show Kim lying in state beneath a red blanket with his head on a pillow.
There were also rumours that he may have been seriously injured during one of his military’s controversial missile tests.
A former official with links to the Workers’ Party of North Korea reportedly encouraged this speculation.
However, in an effort to contradict the rumours of his death a state-run newspaper has reported that Kim sent a personal letter to builders working on a tourism project in Wonsan.
Some have claimed the leader’s lack of public appearances is merely an effort to avoid the coronavirus.
South Korea’s minister for North Korean affairs said he believed Kim has not been seen because he is dodging the deadly outbreak, but this has not stopped a number or journalists and Korean media outlets from reporting the leader had died.
Chinese journalist Shijian Xingzou said a “very solid source” told her the North Korean leader had died.
Separately, a Japanese media outlet claimed Kim was in a “vegetative state” after undergoing heart surgery.
However South Korean president Moon Jae-in’s foreign policy advisor Chung-in Moon has said they believe Kim has been staying in Wonsan since April 13 – with “no suspicious movements”.
Kim Yeon-chul, unification minister for South Korea, commented: “It is true that he had never missed the anniversary for Kim Il Sung’s birthday since he took power, but many anniversary events including celebrations and a banquet had been cancelled because of coronavirus concerns.”
He said there were at least two instances since mid-January where Kim went missing for nearly 20 days.
The Minister added: “I don’t think that’s particularly unusual given the current (coronavirus) situation.”
US President Donald Trump recently suggested he knew about the welfare of Kim.
However, the president added he couldn’t give much away.
The president hinted the North Korean is unwell as he said he hoped “everything will be fine”.
The president said: “Kim Jong Un? I can’t tell you exactly.
“Yes, I do have a very good idea, but I can’t talk about it now.
“I just wish him well.”