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North Korea’s Kim makes first public appearance in 40 days

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Pyongyang, Oct 14 :

North Korea’s top leader, Kim Jong Un, has visited a newly built residential district, the official KCNA news agency reported Tuesday, his first public appearance in about 40 days.

Kim has not been seen in public since he watched the performance of the Moranbong Band with his wife Ri Sol Ju here at the Mansudae Art Theatre Sep 3. His longest absence from public events since he took power has drawn the world’s attention and fueled speculations about his health.

North Korea President Kim Jong-un
North Korea President Kim Jong-un

Xinhua cited KCNA as reporting Tuesday that Kim expressed satisfaction after he learned in detail about the construction of the newly built Wisong Scientists Residential District.

“Watching the exterior of the apartment houses and public buildings nicely decorated with diverse colour tiles, he was very pleased to see them. He said they looked very attractive, presenting fantastic scenery,” the report said.

Kim also visited the newly built Natural Energy Institute of the State Academy of Sciences on the same day, the state media said, without giving the exact date he made the visits.

On Sep 25, Kim did not show up at the second session of the Supreme People’s Assembly, North Korea’s top legislative body.

The next day, a short video clip broadcast on the Korean Central Television said Kim was still busy leading the North Korean people with enormous enthusiasm despite his recent ill-health.

However, Oct 5, South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae said Kim Yang Gon, a senior leader from North Korea, told him privately that there was no problem with Kim’s health during the visit of three senior North Korea officials to South Korea for the closing ceremony of the 17th Asian Games.

On Oct 10, Kim did not visit the Palace of the Sun at Kumsusan, which was a commemorative ceremony marking the 69th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).

Each year, as a ritual, he would pay tributes to the deceased leaders of North Korea, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun since he assumed power in late 2011.

Kim was a no-show at a national meeting Oct 7 to mark the 17th anniversary of former top leader Kim Jong-il’s election as general secretary of the WPK.

(IANS)