Kim Jong Un is reported to have attended a ribbon cutting event at the Sunchon fertilizer factory on Friday in the North Korean leader’s first public appearance in state media in 21 days.
In an appearance which follows a storm of international media speculation about the whereabouts of the DPRK leader, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said he had conducted the inspection visit on Friday, to mark May 1’s International Labor Day.
Kim was joined by his sister, Kim Yo Jong, as well as top officials Kim Jae Ryong, Pak Pong Ju, Kim Dok Hun, Pak Thae Song, and Jo Yong Won, the report said.
The North Korean leader, who reportedly cut the ribbon at the ceremony, last visited the facility — which lies just 50 kilometers north of Pyongyang — in January.
Speaking at the opening of the factory, he hailed the project as the “first success” of last December’s 5th Plenary Meeting of 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and its goal of having the country “break through the barriers” imposed on it by sanctions and economic pressure.
“He set forth the tasks and ways for developing our chemical industry in a correct orientation as required by the new century including rebuilding and updating fertilizer factories as a whole, and building more chemical industrial bases,” KCNA reported.
The report, notably, made no mention of his health — the subject of substantial media speculation in recent weeks.
Photos of Kim Jong Un at the event did not show any notably signs that the DPRK leader might be in particularly bad health, though they did show him standing in front of a golf cart.