Kim Jong-un: Real reason behind North Korean leader’s disappearance – and he WASN’T sick

The North Korean leader recently vanished for three weeks sparking rumours about his health. But Seoul’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) said at a parliamentary committee on Wednesday these reports were “groundless”.

They blamed his absence on a possible coronavirus outbreak in North Korea.

The secretive state has claimed to have no cases of the virus which has spread around the world after breaking out in China.

But the NIS has said the pandemic could have reached North Korea.

Committee member Kim Byung-kee said: “It cannot be ruled out that there is an outbreak in North Korea.

“Kim Jong-un had focused on consolidating internal affairs such as military forces and party-state meetings, and coronavirus concerns have further limited his public activity.”

The North Korean leader has made just 17 appearances so far this this year compared to an average of 50 in previous years.

But he is said to have been carrying out his other duties while he was not seen in public.

There were reports that Mr Kim had undergone heart surgery and was in a vegetative state or even dead.

But on Saturday he reemerged at a fertiliser plant.

State media published pictures and a video of the North Korean leader cutting the ribbon at the opening ceremony.

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KCNA news agency reported that people at the factory “broke into thunderous cheers of hurrah” when he appeared.

The public appearance was Mr Kim’s first since April 11.

It comes after former senior North Korean diplomat Thae Yong-ho claimed that Mr Kim was suffering from a serious illness or dead.

Another defector Ji Seong-ho said he was certain the North Korean leader had died after heart surgery and an official announcement was imminent.

Daily NK, a Seoul-based news outlet with sources inside North Korea, reported in April that Mr Kim was recovering from a cardiovascular procedure.

Speculation about the North Korean leader’s health began after he missed the birth anniversary celebrations of his grandfather Kim Il-sung on April 15.

Earlier this week, South Korea said that Mr Kim did not undergo heart surgery.

North and South Korea exchanged gunfire in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) on Sunday.

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