North Korea willingly shared Kim Jong Un's photograph at the official opening of a fertiliser plant with his reported successor, his sister Kim Yo Jong, alongside him.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on May 4, 2020

Kim Jong Un, the despot leader of North Korea, is alive and has been filmed laughing and smoking.

North Korea willingly shared Kim Jong Un’s photograph at the official opening of a fertiliser plant with his reported successor, his sister Kim Yo Jong, alongside.

“When the Sunchon Phosphatic Fertiliser Manufacturing Plant goes into operation, it will represent a historical development in our country’s fertiliser industry, it will be a glorious revolution and a splendid display of our nation’s great economic potential, and it will be an uplifting banner that assures us of the achievements of our country’s general economic frontline,” Kim Jong Un said, according to a report by the Korean Central News Agency.

State-run media North Korean Central Television broadcasted a video of Kim Jong Un walking, sitting on a stage alongside his sister and other North Korean officials, smoking and laughing heartily. When Kim Jong Un is not walking, he is seen transported in a golf buggy sitting very close to other government officials in the vehicle. Kim’s security detail can be seen walking behind him and wearing black masks.

Kim Jong Un has not been sighted since 11 April and speculation about his health soared when the 38-year-old missed the celebrations of his grandfather’s birthday, North Korea’s founder, Kim Il Sung, on 15 April. The CEO Magazine reported he was in “grave danger” after surgery on 21 April. Many news outlets reported that he was dead but despite his reappearance there is still no information about what has happened to Kim Jong Un since 11 April.

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong.

As recently as last week, the US was monitoring intelligence suggesting Kim was in grave danger following a surgical procedure. National security adviser Robert O’Brien said the US was “keeping a close eye” on reports about Kim’s health.

“We’re monitoring these reports very closely,” O’Brien said during an interview with Fox News on April 21. “As you know, North Korea is a very closed society,” he added.

Last Sunday (US time), South Korean presidential adviser Moon Chung-in told CNN that the North Korean leader was “alive and well” despite speculation about his health. The adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Kim had been staying in the Wonsan area, on the country’s east coast where he has a luxurious compound, since 13 April 13, adding: “No suspicious movements have so far been detected.”