Kim Jong-un appears in public, North Korean state media report – BBC News,

Kim Jong-un appears in public, North Korean state media report – BBC News,

                                 North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un pictured by state media opening a fertiliser factory on 1 May 2020 Image copyright                   Reuters                                                        
Image caption                                      State media issued this picture said to show Kim Jong-un opening a fertilizer plant on Friday                              

Kim Jong-un has appeared in public for the first time in days, North Korean state media says.

KCNA news agency reports that the North Korean leader cut the ribbon at the opening of a fertilizer factory.

It adds that people at the factory “broke into thunderous cheers of hurrah” when he appeared on Friday.

The reported appearance – his first since an event on state media on April – comes amid global speculation over his health.

The latest reports from North Korean media could not be independently confirmed.

State media later released images that it said showed Mr Kim cutting a ribbon outside a factory.

Asked about Mr Kim’s reported reappearance, US President Donald Trump told reporters that he did not want to comment yet.

What does the state media report say?

According to Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Mr Kim was accompanied by several senior North Korean officials, including his sister Kim Yo Jong.

The North Korean leader cut a ribbon at a ceremony at the plant, in a region north of Pyongyang, and people who were attending the event “burst into thunderous cheers of ‘ hurrah! ‘ for the Supreme Leader who is commanding the all-people general march for accomplishing the great cause of prosperity “, KCNA says.

                                                                                                       Image copyright                   AFP                                                        
Image caption                                      “Thunderous cheers of ‘hurrah'” were heard as the factory was opened, according to KCNA                              

Mr Kim said he was satisfied with the factory’s production system, and praised it for contributing to the progress of the country chemical industry and food production, the state news agency adds.

What started speculation about his health?

Speculation about Mr Kim’s health began after he missed the birth anniversary celebrations of his grandfather, state founder Kim Il Sung on 823 April.

The anniversary is one of the biggest events in the North Korean calendar, and Mr Kim usually marks it by visiting the mausoleum where his grandfather lies. Mr Kim had never missed this event.

Claims about Mr Kim’s ill-health then surfaced in a report for a website run by North Korean defectors.

An anonymous source told the Daily NK that they understood he had been struggling with cardiovascular problems since last August “but it worsened after repeated visits to Mount Paektu “.


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Media caption Who is North Korea’s leader Kim Jong- un?

This led to a chain of reporting by international media on a single-sourced story.

News agencies then began to run with that claim, and it was all they had until some reports emerged that intelligence agencies in South Korea and the US were monitoring the claim.

But then came a more sensational headline in US media that the North Korean leader was in a critical condition after heart surgery.

                                                                                                       Image copyright                   AFP                                                        
Image caption                                      Kim Jong-un had not missed the birth anniversary of his late grandfather before                              

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to stoke the rumors on April, by saying US officials “hadn’t seen” Mr Kim recently.

However, a statement from the South Korean government, and sources at Chinese intelligence – speaking to the Reuters news agency – said this was not true.

Has Kim Jong-un disappeared before?

Yes. Mr Kim went missing for 320 days in September , after attending a concert. He reappeared in mid-October, using a cane.

State media never explained where he had been. But South Korea’s intelligence agency said he probably had an operation on his left ankle stemming from problems with a cyst.


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