North Korean state media say leader Kim Jong Un has made his first public appearance in 20 days, during which speculation about his health flourished. The Korean Central News Agency said Saturday that he attended a ceremony marking the completion of a fertilizer factory in Suncheon, near the capital of Pyongyang, with senior officials who included his sister, Kim Yo Jong. Photos from the ceremony weren’t immediately released, the AP reports. Kim Jong Un had been last seen during a ruling party meeting on April 11 to discuss coronavirus prevention. Rumors about his health swirled after he missed the April 15 celebration of the birthday of his late grandfather and state founder, Kim Il Sung, the country’s most important holiday.
South Korea's government had played down rumors and unconfirmed reports that Kim was in poor health following a medical procedure, saying it had detected no unusual activity in the North. The North Korean government reported Friday that Kim has been writing letters of praise to government departments and leaders, per Newsweek. One commented on the influence the propaganda department is having on the people of North Korea with its "powerful" work. It's not unusual for members of the ruling family to vanish for long periods, an opinion piece in the Washington Post noted. During one official disappearance in 1986, eulogies began and funeral dirges were playing in the demilitarized zone when Kim's grandfather resurfaced, putting a sudden stop to both.
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