North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly made his first public appearance since April 11 when he attended a ceremony on Friday celebrating the completion of a fertilizer factory near the capital of Pyongyang. Kim's arrival was reported by the Korean Central News Agency, but could not be verified by several national news outlets, including the Associated Press and Reuters.
His reported attendance would end widespread suspicion regarding Kim's health after he missed the birthday celebration of his late grandfather Kim Il Sung. Considered a major holiday, the North Korean leader would typically visit the mausoleum where the state founder was laid to rest.
AP points out that in 2014, Kim disappeared for nearly six weeks before appearing before the public with a cane. South Korea's spy agency claimed he had a cyst removed from his ankle.
NK News has posted photos that appear to be Kim.
CNN reported late last month that a recent cardiovascular system procedure performed on April 12 left Kim in "grave danger," and U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said officials were "keeping a close eye" on reports of his health. A South Korean government official later disputed the report, saying Kim wasn't seriously ill, and simply in recovery.
The flurry of reports continued in recent days leading up to his alleged appearance. Taiwan’s intelligence chief refused to confirm anything regarding Kim's well-being, citing the need to protect their sources.
Given the absence of photos from the event accompanying the KCNA report, rumors could very well continue to run rampant regarding the state of Kim's health.