Dictator reportedly ‘seen alive’ in North Korea
Kim Jong-un has reportedly been seen for the first time in public after rumours he had died.
The North Korean leader was reported to have had an operation that went wrong, before these claims were dismissed.
But today he has been seen for the first time in 20 days, says news agency Yonhap, after last being spotted in public in early April.
The agency reports he was attending the completion ceremony of Suncheon Fertilizer Plant.
Speculation over the welfare of the North Korean leader has been mounting for days but the rogue state has not broken its silence.
Concern over his health began when he failed to appear at an important celebration on April 15, to mark the birthday of Kim Il-sung, his grandfather and the founder of the country.
And a recent viral image that supposedly showed Kim Jong-un dead in a glass coffin set off the rumours again.
The image - likely a doctored photo from his father's 2011 funeral - appears to show Kim lying in state beneath a red blanket with his head on a pillow.
There were also rumours that he may have been seriously injured during one of his military's controversial missile tests - a former official with links to the Workers' Party of North Korea encouraged this speculation.
But in an effort to contradict the rumours of his death a state-run newspaper has reported that Kim sent a personal letter to builders working on a tourism project in Wonsan.
Chinese journalist Shijian Xingzou said a "very solid source" told her the North Korean leader had died.
Separately, a Japanese media outlet claimed Kim was in a "vegetative state" after undergoing heart surgery.
However South Korean president Moon Jae-in's foreign policy adviser Chung-in Moon has said they believe Kim has been staying in Wonsan since April 13 - with "no suspicious movements".
And South Korea's minister for North Korean affairs said he believed Kim has not been seen because he is dodging the coronavirus.
"It is true that he had never missed the anniversary for Kim Il Sung's birthday since he took power, but many anniversary events including celebrations and a banquet had been cancelled because of coronavirus concerns," Kim Yeon-chul said at a parliamentary hearing.
He said there were at least two instances since mid-January where Kim went missing for nearly 20 days.
"I don't think that's particularly unusual given the current (coronavirus) situation," he added.
Originally published as Kim Jong-un 'seen alive'