North Korea Leader Kim Re-Appears, with Walking Stick: State Media
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, shown using a cane for support, re-appeared in state media on Tuesday after a lengthy public absence that had fueled speculation over his health and grip on power in the country.
Several pictures on the front page of the Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed Kim smiling and gesturing on a visit to a housing development, although there was no indication which day the event took place. He was surrounded by aides and wearing his signature dark buttoned suit, and appeared to be supporting himself with a black walking stick.
There have been no official reports on the 31-year-old Kim appearing in public since he attended a concert with his wife on Sept. 3. He missed an important political anniversary on Friday as well as a recent session of the country's parliament.
A story in the official KCNA news agency on two public appearances by Kim was dated Tuesday but also did not specify on which day he made the visits. It also did not mention Kim's health or lengthy absence from public view.
Reuters could not independently verify the reports.
The KCNA report, which was typical of its chronicling of Kim's activities, said he "gave field guidance" to the new Wisong Scientists Residential District and visited the newly built Natural Energy Institute of the State Academy of Sciences.
"Our scientists are patriots who are devoting all their lives to building a rich and powerful nation," Kim was quoted as saying.
In still pictures broadcast by state TV, Kim was often shown seated, once with a cigarette in his hand, while his aides stood. He was also shown in a green multi-seat golf cart, along with several members of his entourage.
The reports of Kim's activities may be aimed at dispelling rumors outside the country and to ease any concern inside the North and its military following an exchange of gunfire on Friday between North and South Korea, an analyst said.