By Elite Reporter
Maverick North Korean dictator Kimm Jong Un has literally ‘resurrected’ weeks after he was pronounced dead of reportedly overthrown by Western media agencies.
The North reported that Kim had attended the opening of a fertiliser factory and released pictures it said showed the leader cutting a ribbon at the ceremony on Friday in Sunchon, north of Pyongyang, although the appearance could not be verified.
Rumours about Kim’s health have been swirling since his conspicuous no-show at April 15 celebrations for the birthday of his grandfather, the North’s founder, which is the most important day on the country’s political calendar.
His absence triggered a series of fevered rumours and unconfirmed reports over his condition, while the United States and South Korea insisted they had no information to believe any of the conjecture was true.
His sudden death would have left Pyongyang facing an unplanned succession for the first time in its history and raised unanswered questions over who would succeed him and take over the North’s nuclear arsenal.
The Korean Central news agency said that onlookers “broke into thunderous cheers of ‘hurrah!'” when Kim appeared.
The pictures released by the Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed Kim in his trademark black suit, smiling broadly as he looked around the factory.
He was flanked by senior officials, who included his sister and close adviser Kim Yo Jong. He showed no outward signs of ill health.
As with previous pictures released by the North during the global coronavirus pandemic, Kim was not wearing a mask, unlike the hundreds of workers cheering for him and releasing balloons.
Analysts said Kim could not appear in public wearing a mask as it would make him appear vulnerable to the North Korean people.
The North has insisted that it has not seen a single case of Coronavirus, although experts say it is unlikely.
Reporting from inside the isolated North is notoriously difficult, especially on matters relating to its leadership, which is among its most closely guarded secrets.
The North Korean leader had not made a public appearance since presiding over a Workers’ Party politburo meeting on April 11, and the following day state media reported that he had inspected fighter jets.
Daily NK, an online media outlet run mostly by North Korean defectors, had reported that Kim was undergoing treatment after a cardiovascular procedure last month.
Soon afterwards, CNN reported that Washington was “monitoring intelligence” that Kim was in “grave danger” after undergoing surgery, quoting an anonymous US official.
But officials in Seoul had consistently downplayed the reports and a presidential security advisor said that Kim was “alive and well” and staying in the eastern resort town of Wonsan.
Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international studies at Ewha University in Seoul said Kim’s disappearance had highlighted that the world was “largely unprepared for instability in North Korea”.
“Washington, Seoul and Tokyo need tighter coordination on contingency plans,” he said.
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