North Korean leader Kim Jong Un makes his first public appearance in more than a month
(CNN) — Kim Jong Un has reportedly made his first public appearance in more than a month.
The North Korean leader gave “field guidance” to a newly built residential district and visited the Natural Energy Institute of the State Academy of Sciences, state news agency KCNA said early Tuesday.
Kim hasn’t been seen in public since he reportedly attended a concert with his wife on September 3.
It’s his longest absence from official events since he made his first public appearance in 2010, according to NK News, a website devoted to analyzing North Korea.
State media published photographs of Kim walking with a cane. It wasn’t clear when those photos were taken, and KCNA did not report when the North Korean leader purportedly made those visits to the institute and residential district.
Kim’s disappearance from the public eye has fueled rampant speculation: Is he sick? Are there machinations within the North Korean power circle?
“There are a lot of questions. Few answers at this moment,” said CNN’s Brian Todd.
Similarly, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Patrick Ventrell said he could not confirm the KCNA report.
“We have seen these breaking reports but have nothing for you on their authenticity at this time,” he said.
Before this absence, Kim’s longest disappearance from public view as Supreme Leader was 24 days between June 7 and July 1, 2012. His second longest absence was for 29 days between July 28 and August 27, 2011 — while his father was still alive, NK News said.
Kim’s sole public appearance in September was at a Moranbong Band concert at Pyongyang’s Mansudae Art Theatre, reported by state media on September 4. He was accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol Ju, his sister Kim Yo Jong and several top officials including Hwang Pyong So.