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North Korea reports first Kim Jong Un sighting in over a month

October 14, 2014

North Korea's young dictator recently disappeared from the public eye, fuelling international speculation about both his health and his grip on power. Now the country's state media has reported that he's back.

Kim Jong-Un
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Rodong Sinmun

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un visited a new housing complex in the capital city, Pyongyang, the country's official news agency, KCNA, said on Tuesday.

"Looking over the exterior of the apartment houses and public buildings, decorated with diverse colored tiles, [Kim] expressed great satisfaction, saying they looked very beautiful," the state news agency said.

Prior to the report, the young leader, who is believed to be 30 or 31 years old, had not been seen in public since September 3 while attending a concert with his wife.

South Korean officials have not yet commented on Kim's reported reappearance.

In late September, Kim's noticeable absence from a parliamentary session fueled speculation about his whereabouts.

The rumors of his poor health had originally begun in July when the North Korean dictator was seen walking with a limp. However, it wasn't until around the same time as the September parliamentary session that KCNA, in a rare comment, said Kim had been "suffering discomfort."

International media pounced on his disappearance once again on Friday when his name did not appear on the guest list for the anniversary celebrations, which KCNA published.

South Korea's Unification Ministry spokesperson, Lim Byeong Cheol, later told reporters that a delegation from North Korea had delivered greetings from the young dictator during a recent surprise visit to Seoul, leading to the conclusion that North Korea was "being normally ruled" by Kim.

Kim Jong Un rose to power three years ago after his father, Kim Jong Il, died of a heart attack. The young leader has maintained a high profile in the North Korean media and has repeatedly attempted to exert his power by threatening to attack South Korea and the United States.

kms/crh (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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