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Kim Jong-uns longest absence in seven years sparks new fears about his health

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s last appearance on state media is believed to have taken place on October 12 during coverage of a huge missile exhibition in Pyongyang the day before

Kim Jong Un
Rumours have swirled over the despot’s health

North Korean despot Kim Jong-un hasn’t made any new public appearances in state media in a month, sparking fresh speculation about his health.

As of Thursday the leader of the secretive state has been absent from public activities for the last 30 days.

It marks what is believed to be the longest period of absence since 2014 and follows speculation and reports about his health which were made earlier this year.

His last appearance on state media is believed to have taken place on October 12 during coverage of a huge missile exhibition in Pyongyang the day before.








Kim Jong-un’s last state appearance occurred in October
(

Image:

via REUTERS)



In a speech carried by state news at the time, Kim said he was increasing his military strength as an act of self-defence.

He claimed that Pyongyang’s weapons development was necessary in the face of hostile policies from the US and a military build-up in South Korea, according to a report by state news agency KCNA.

NK News reports that since then he has not been seen on state channels and satellite imagery has shown ‘increased activity’ at his east coast beach house and a lakeside mansion near the capital.

The outlet says it suggests he ‘may have spent time at these spots during his current absence’. It said it was his longest absencefor seven years.








He is next scheduled to appear for his annual visit to his father’s mausoleum next month
(

Image:

via REUTERS)



The dictator’s health has been the subject of speculation in recent months.

Earlier this year the 37-year-old was seen with a very loose fitting jacket and excess skin sagging around his neck at the Youth Day celebrations in Pyongyang.

He is understood to have lost 44 pounds in a year – which is more than three stone in weight.

Chain-smoking, cheese-gorging Kim had reportedly gained a stone every year since coming into power in 2011.

His health has been heavily discussed with reports claiming he secretly attended a health retreat after aides became concerned about his heavy figure.




There were other suggestions that he had a gastric band fitted and his supposed health worries left some in the country “heartbroken”.

Rumours about the dictator’s health forced Pyongyang to outlaw gossip about his weight earlier this year.

North Korea has not announced any major political events in the coming weeks, say reports, that would require Kim’s presence.

His next scheduled appearance will likely take place on December 17 for his annual visit to his father Kim Jong Il’s mausoleum on the anniversary of his death.


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