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North Korean leader appears in official media after long absence

October 14, 2014, 8:37 UTC+3 TOKYO TOKYO October, 14. /TASS
North Korea's leading official newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported Kim's visit to a new residential district on its front page, without saying where he was for more than a month
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© EPA/Rodong Sinmun

TOKYO, October 14. /TASS/. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday appeared in the country's official media for the first time in 40 days, with several photos of him using a cane for support, after his prolonged absence had fueled a flurry of speculation among outside watchers over his health and hold on absolute power, Japan’s Kyodo news agency said.

North Korea's leading official newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported Kim's visit to a new residential district on its front page, without saying where he was for more than a month and why he is now using a walking stick.

Kim Jong-un had not been seen in public since he watched a concert with his wife in Pyongyang on September 3. His disappearance from the public eye, the longest since he inherited power after his father died in December 2011, had fueled rumors outside North Korea that he may be seriously ill or in political trouble, Kyodo said.

Kim was seen walking with a limp this summer on state television. After he did not appear at a session of North Korea's top legislature on September 25, state TV for the first time acknowledged that he was suffering discomfort.

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