Kim Jong Un makes first public appearance in 20 days amid speculation over health

North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnNorth Korea sparks US condemnation with latest missile launch Overnight Defense & National Security — US delivers written response to Russia North Korea fires two more missiles amid tensions in region MORE appeared in public for the first time in 20 days Friday amid speculation over the strongman’s health.

State media outlet Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Kim cut the tape to mark the completion of a fertilizer plant in Sunchon, north of Pyongyang, though no picture of the event has yet been published.

“All the participants broke into thunderous cheers of ‘hurrah!’ extending the greatest glory to the Supreme Leader,” KCNA said, according to a translation of its report by South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.


Kim was joined by several senior North Korean officials at the event. 

The Hill and other media outlets were not immediately able to independently confirm KCNA’s report.

The appearance marked the first time Kim has been seen in public since April 11. Speculation over his health spiked after he was absent from an April 15 ceremony marking the birthday of his grandfather and founder of the modern North Korean state Kim Il Sung, a major holiday in the secretive nation.

When asked at a White House press conference about Kim’s latest appearance, President TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial MORE simply said he’d “have something to say about it at the appropriate time.”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” he added to reporters when pressed about KCNA’s report. 

Kim, who is overweight and has been known to smoke, has been the focus of years-long speculation over his health. His six-week disappearance from the public eye in 2014 led to a similar avalanche of rumors that he was either unwell, had been overthrown or died.