North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un allegedly made a public appearance on Saturday amid unconfirmed reports that he is critically ill, dead, or hiding from the Chinese coronavirus, according to South Korea’s Yonhap.
Kim Jong Un attended the completion of a fertilizer plant in Sunchon, marking his firth public appearance in 20 days, Reuters reported, citing North Korea’s state news agency KCNA. The report claimed he attended the ceremony with other senior officials, along with his sister, Kim Yo Jong. Photos of the event have yet to be released.
President Donald Trump declined to comment on the report of Kim’s purported re-emergence as he departed for Camp David for the weekend, telling reporters: “I rather not comment on it yet.”
“We’ll have something to say about it at the appropriate time,” the president added.
Kim Jong Un had been last seen during a ruling party meeting on April 11 to discuss coronavirus prevention. Speculation about his health swirled after he missed the April 15 celebration of the birthday of his late grandfather and state founder, Kim Il Sung, the country’s most important holiday.
South Korea’s government had downplayed rumors and unconfirmed reports that Kim was in poor health following a medical procedure, saying it had detected no unusual activity in the North.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.