North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attended the opening of a fertilizer factory on May Day, according to state media, in his first public appearance since a flurry of media reports prompted questions about his health.
Kim cut the ribbon to denote the completion of the Sunchon Phosphatic Fertilizer Factory, the official Korean Central News Agency reported early Saturday.The report didn’t offer any photos or footage of the event, nor did it make any reference to Kim’s recent absence. When asked specifically about the report, U.S. President Donald Trump declined to comment.
Among those reportedly present at the ceremony were premier Kim Jae Ryong, former premier Pak Pong Ju, and Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong, who’s recently been the focus of commentary that she would take over from her brother in the event of his death.
Speculation about Kim’s whereabouts has mounted since his unprecedented absence from annual events to celebrate the April 15 birthday of his grandfather, state founder Kim Il Sung. While U.S. officials said they were told Kim, 36, was in critical condition after undergoing a cardiovascular procedure, a top South Korean foreign policy adviser later said he was “alive and well.”