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North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Makes His First Appearance in Three Weeks

Photo: /Blue House

Amidst global speculation of Kim Jong Un’s health, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on May 2, 2020 that North Korea’s leader was present at a ribbon-cutting ceremony of a fertilizer factory on Friday. The event was held in Sunchon, a city in North Korea’s South Pyongan province.

The event would mark Kim’s first public appearance in three weeks. Reports had previously circulated that he had become severely ill after getting a procedure done on his heart. Kim is believed to be 36 years old and had to undergo the cardiovascular procedure because of his obesity, fatigue, and heavy smoking.

Kim was not seen during the birthday of his grandfather Kim Il Sung, the founder of the North Korean republic, on April 15, prompting concerns about his health. His most recent public appearance was at a Workers’ Party meeting on April 11.

According to KCNA, the crowd “broke into thunderous cheers of ‘hurrah!’” when it saw Kim. Kim was also reported to have “said with deep emotion” how his grandfather Kim Il Sung and his father Kim Jong Il “would be greatly pleased if they heard the news that the modern phosphatic fertilizer factory has been built.”

Moon Chung-in, a top security advisor to South Korea President Moon Jae-in, shared nearly a week before that Kim is “alive and well”. He noted that Kim was staying at the resort town of Wonsan, and that “No suspicious movements have so far been detected.”

On Thursday, April 30, U.S. President Donald Trump denied reports of Kim’s declining health and refused to comment when asked when he had last spoken with North Korea’s leader. On Friday, Trump also refused to acknowledge Kim’s reappearance.

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