Within days of China questioning the prolonged and unexplained absence of North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un from public life, Pyongyang on Tuesday released undated photographs of Kim in an apparent attempt to quell speculation about the young dictator's ill-health.
Kim looks health, and smiling, in the photographs though he is seen carrying a walking stick.
The official Rodong Sinmun agency of North Korea published the photos, which according to official sources in the state media were taken while Kim was visiting a new residential complex for scientists
It did not say when the photos were taken.
“Kim walked with a walking stick when he gave field guidance to a newly built residential district for scientists, the official KCNA news agency reported on the same day, echoing reports that he was recovering from a leg injury,” China’s official news agency, Xinhua, reported Tuesday.
Kim was last seen in public on Septe3mber. 3 when he watched the performance of the Moranbong Band with his wife Ri Sol Ju at the Mansudae Art Theater.
“His longest absence from public events since he took power has drawn the world's attention and fueled speculations about his health,’’ the Xinhua report said.
It added that Kim was shown walking with a limp on the Korean Central Television on July 8 at a “commemorative event marking the 20th anniversary of the death of his grandfather and former leader Kim Il Sung”.
According to a Tuesday report in the official North Korean agency, KCNA, “Kim expressed satisfaction after he learned in detail about the construction of the newly built Wisong Scientists Residential District”.
“Watching the exterior of the apartment houses and public buildings nicely decorated with diverse color tiles, he was very pleased to see them. He said they looked very attractive, presenting fantastic scenery,” the report added..
The KCNA said Kim also visited the newly built Natural Energy Institute of the State Academy of Sciences on the same day without giving the exact date he made the visits.