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Saturday, 2 May 2020

Kim Jong-Un makes his first public appearance for 20 days, North Korea state media reports, as he cuts ribbon at fertilizer plant alongside sister who was said to have taken over after he had died

Kim Jong-Un makes his first public appearance for 20 days at a fertiliser plant
The despot cut the ribbon at the opening of a fertiliser factory in Sunchon (top right), state media reported and released pictures supposedly showing the event. Kim was seen smiling and talking to aides at the ceremony (left) and also touring the plant, but the authenticity of the photos could not be verified. 

The dictator was accompanied by several senior North Korean officials including his younger sister Kim Yo Jong (top and bottom right, next to Kim), Korean Central News Agency said. Asked about the KCNA report, US President Donald Trump said: 'I'd rather not comment on it yet. We'll have something to say about it at the appropriate time.' Speculation about Kim's health has been rife after he missed the birth anniversary celebrations of state founder Kim Il Sung on April 15.



Kim 'attended the ceremony' on Friday and 'all participants broke into thunderous cheers of 'hurrah!' when he appeared, the Korean Central News Agency said. Pictured is an image shared by the agency on Saturday

Speculation about Kim's health has been rife 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 a leader usually pays a visit to the mausoleum where his grandfather lies in state.
He last made a public appearance on April 11 attending a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party politburo. 
Following his absence from the anniversary, a South Korean news outlet specialising on the North reported Kim was recovering after undergoing a cardiovascular procedure.
A flurry of other unconfirmed reports about his condition and his whereabouts followed including from vice director of Hong Kong Satellite Television Shijian Xingzou who claimed he was dead. Officials in South Korea and the US were sceptical.
The former top US diplomat for East Asia Daniel Russel said the pieces of the puzzle of Kim's disappearance would take time to assemble.
His reappearance showed authoritative information about the well-being and whereabouts of a North Korean leader were very closely guarded, and rumours about him needed to be regarded with considerable skepticism, Russel said.
The rumours had, however, served to focus attention on North Korea's succession plan, which 'in a monarchical and cult-like dictatorship is filled with risk, and the absence of a designated adult heir compounds that risk many times over,' Russel said.
Earlier, a source familiar with US intelligence analyses and reporting said US agencies believed Kim was not ill and remained very much in power.
'We think he's still in charge,' the source said on condition of anonymity. The source could not immediately confirm the KCNA report. The State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Experts have suggested that Kim's sister Kim Yo-jong (pictured together in Pyongyang in September 2018) could be in line to succeed her brother if necessary

Experts have suggested that Kim's sister Kim Yo-jong (pictured together in Pyongyang in September 2018) could be in line to succeed her brother if necessary 

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