North Korea leader Kim Jong Un debunked reports that he’s died after a botched surgery by making his first public appearance after weeks on Friday, May 1.
According to Korean Central News Agency, the controversial leader attended a ceremony celebrating the completion of a fertilizer factory near the capital of Pyongyang. “KJU was reported to have attended a ribbon cutting event at the Sunchon fertilizer factory to mark May 1’s International Labor Day, making it his first public appearance in state media in 21 days,” NK News wrote on Twitter alongside some new photos of Kim in the ceremony.
In a separate tweet, the news outlet explained, “Kim was joined by his sister, Kim Yo Jong, as well as top officials Kim Jae Ryong, Pak Pong Ju, Kim Dok Hun, Pak Thae Song, and Jo Yong Won.”
The public appearance ended suspicion regarding Kim’s health after he skipped the birthday celebration of his late grandfather Kim Il Sung. However, the new report cannot be verified by several other national news outlets, including the Associated Press and Reuters.
Last week, Kim was rumored to be dead. A vice director of HKSTV reported the news on Saturday, April 25, citing a “solid source.” Her post first appeared on the Chinese messaging app Weibo, according to the International Business Times.
Meanwhile, other unconfirmed reports suggested Kim Jong Un fell ill after an operation to insert a stent in his heart went wrong. Japanese news sources also suggested the controversial leader is in a vegetative state following surgery. As for South Korean presidential adviser Moon Chung In, he told CNN on Sunday, April 27 that the North Korean leader was “alive and well” despite speculation about his well-being.