North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was missing from an official event marking the 69th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party, sparking speculation he is no longer in charge, the New York Times reported Friday.
Kim, who has been absent from public view for more than one month, has attended the event since taking over the leadership after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, in 2011.
The younger Kim had marked the beginning of this important national holiday by leading top military and party officials to pay a midnight visit to the Kumsusan mausoleum in Pyongyang.
By Friday morning, however, the state-run media had made no mention of such a visit, which would have taken place at midnight Thursday.
Kumsusan mausoleum is the resting place of Kim’s father and his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, the country’s founding president.
No public appearance by Kim has been shown in North Korean media since Sept. 3 when he was reported to have attended a music concert.
His father often disappeared from the public eye for weeks at a time. But this was the longest disappearance for the younger Kim, who appeared to be building his youthful leadership with frequent visits to factories and farms.
Speculation escalated after the state-run Korean Central Television confirmed for the first time that Kim was “not feeling well” and showed him limping during a visit to a factory in August. Kim was first seen limping on North Korean television in July, the report said.
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