Kim Jong Un has made his first public appearance in 20 days, squashing any rumours about his death that had been making the headlines lately. The reason behind North Korean leader's absence remains unknown, but his first public appearance in days shows Kim in a healthy state as he inaugurated the Sunchon Phosphatic Fertilizer Factory on May 1.
North Korea also observed the International Labour Day as the official paper of the Workers' Party newspaper Rodung Sinmun as well as state news agency KCNA released photographs and details of celebrations in North Korea on May 1. The mass gathering was not to celebrate Kim's reappearance, but to celebrate a huge milestone of completion ceremony of the Phosphatic Fertilizer Factory.
"The completion of the Suncheon In Fertilizer Plant is the first achievement achieved since the 7th 5th Power Conference of the Central Committee of the Party and is an important opportunity to take a step forward in Korea's chemical industry," Kim was quoted as saying by Chosen Central Broadcasting.
Peek at NK's local papers
The local newspapers stayed clear of rubbishing any health ailments suffered by their leader Kim, instead, let the photos of Kim merrily observing the chemical factory do the talking. None of the reports also mentioned Kim's unexplained absence from the public eye, rather chose to focus on the latest achievement in the chemical industry.
As the photos from the mass gatherings showed, people were standing with their face masks on. As Kim came out to attend the ceremony, there was welcome music and thousands of people released balloons and broke into thunderous cheers of "hurrah" for their supreme leader. Kim even cut the ribbon to inaugurate the factory.
Kim was accompanied by other senior officials, including his influential younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, who was largely speculated to take the throne after Kim's rumoured death. The images showed Kim talking to his aides while touring the chemical plant.
Pak Pong Ju, the vice-chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, addressed the crowd and said the "Supreme Leader set forth the militant task to build the factory which mass-produces high-concentration ammonium phosphatic fertilizer urgently essential for the agricultural production in a modern and big way and provided energetic guidance to build it as an icon factory in the field of the chemical industry which has materialized the demand for Juche and modernity and as a labour-saving enterprise all the processes of which have been automated and streamlined," Rodung Sinmun reported.
Kim Jong Un death rumours
Rumours started making the rounds of the internet after Kim was absent from the important event of April 15 honoring the 108th birthday of his grandfather and the country's founder Kim Il Sung. Many speculated that the supreme leader was dead or in critical health condition post his heart surgery. The latest photos released by the local media is the first attempt to rubbish those rumours in the most subtle fashion.