North Korea leader no show on anniversary, health rumours
10 October 2014, 08:19
Seoul - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un apparently broke tradition by not visiting the mausoleum of his predecessors on the 69th anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party of Korea Friday, fuelling speculation over his health, a media report said.
Kim, reckoned to be in his early 30s, has in previous years visited the tomb of his father Kim Jong Il and grandfather, state founder Kim Il Sung, at midnight ahead of 10 October, with the visit announced hours later.
But there was no such announcement in state-run media Friday, only stock footage extolling his leadership, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported.
Kim has not been seen in public since early September, leading to speculation that he is suffering health problems, including possible gout due to his love of cheese and other rich foods.
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He was visibly limping in his last appearances, and North Korean media referred to a "physical discomfort" failing to hamper his leadership abilities.
South Korean Defence Minister Han Min Koo this week told parliament that Kim was recovering from an "undisclosed illness" somewhere north of Pyongyang, citing intelligence sources.