North Korea leader Kim Jong-un reappears after not being seen for almost 40 days

North Korea leader Kim Jong-un reappears after almost 40 days

North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. Alexander Khitrov/

Speculation had begun to surface about Mr Kim’s health ahead of military parade appearance

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un made his first public appearance in almost 40 days when he attended a military parade in the country on Monday, February 6.

Mr Kim reappeared ahead of a widely-anticipated military parade in Pyongyang to mark the historic 75th founding anniversary of the Korean People’s Army.

In a later meeting attended by Mr Kim’s top military officials, the members discussed the major military and political tasks for 2023, the country’s official Korean Central News Agency reported yesterday, Tuesday, February 7.

Speculation had begun to surface about Mr Kim’s health again after his absence from public view – his second-longest break ever – but the agency added that a commission discussed a series of tasks aimed to bring “great change” in the military, including “constantly expanding and intensifying the operation and combat drills” and “more strictly perfecting the preparedness for war”.

They reportedly discussed organisational changes to “fundamentally improve and strengthen” military affairs, without specifying what the changes were.

Mr Kim sparked speculations about his health after skipping his third Politburo meeting on Sunday.

He is often pictured during missile tests and party meetings, but is also known to take breaks from the public eye.

His longest-ever hiatus was for 40 days in 2014 when he vanished from the public eye, before reappearing with a cane.

Meanwhile, CNN reported that Mr Kim brought a child, believed to be his daughter, to a lavish banquet at a military barracks yesterday, Tuesday.

That could be the latest sign the girl is possibly being groomed as his eventual successor in an authoritarian family regime dating back decades.

The girl – believed to be Kim’s second child, Ju Ae, who is around nine years old – and her father were joined by his wife, Ri Sol Ju, in the visit to the barracks and subsequent 75th anniversary banquet.

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Simon Smedley

Reporter - Euro Weekly News