North Korean official media did not report on Friday about leader Kim Jong-un's presence at the ruling party’s celebration events, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said.
Celebration events marking the 69th anniversary of the Korean Workers’ Party traditionally began at midnight local time at the memorial palace in Pyongyang. Kim Jong-un had always attended the events together with other top officials since late 2011, when he came into power, and the country’s media always reported about his presence a few hours after the event.
This time, South Korean observers said there were no such reports, giving rise to rumours about the North Korean leader’s health problems.
Kim Jong-un has not appeared in public since September 3, and it gives grounds to foreign experts on North Korea to talk about his worsening health.
North Korea’s central television in a news broadcast on September 26 partially confirmed the suppositions, when showing an unprecedented video of limping Kim Jong-un, and the broadcaster explained: “The marshal, despite illness, as a flow of flame, is continuing going the way of leading the nation”.
Later, South Korea's Minister of Unification Ryoo Kihl-jae denied the reports about illness of Kim Jong-un. When he asked about the health of the North Korean leader, the answer was that he had no health problems, the minister said after a meeting with a North Korean government delegation in Incheon on October 5.