Kim Jong-un: No sign of absent leader at North Korea Asian Games athlete's parade

Supreme leader has not been seen in public for over a month

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Speculation continues to mount over the whereabouts of Kim Jong-un, after the North Korean leader was missing from a homecoming parade of athletes in Pyongyang on Monday.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said senior officials were present at the parade to welcome back North Korea’s athletes from the 17th Asian Games.

But there was no mention of 31-year-old Kim in the state media’s summary of the banquet, who has not been seen in public since 3 September.

His absence is notable considering Kim is a well-documented sports fan, who in March invited retired NBA player Dennis Rodman to North Korea for a friendly basketball match against the communist state. The heavily overweight leader was last seen limping in state propaganda, while videos released by the state in recent weeks said the supreme leader was “suffering discomfort”.

Reports have suggested a variety of reasons as to his month-long absence, including that he may be recovering from ankle surgery or even suffering from gout.

The parade came two days after North Korea’s top political officer travelled to Seoul for the closing ceremony of the Games, where ministers from both Koreas agreed to resume senior-level talks at a later date.

During the North Korean delegation’s time there, an official denied reports Kim was ill, saying there is "no problem at all”.

“I said to Secretary Kim Yang Gon while in a car there was a report that (Kim Jong Un) was in 'discomfort' and asked him how was his health, and Secretary Kim said there was no problem at all," South Korea's Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae told KBS television on Sunday.