Less than two weeks after Kim Jong-un seemingly managed to put an end to an eruption of rumor and speculation about his alleged illness or demise, the New York Post has announced that the North Korean leader has apparently dropped out of the public eye for the last 12 days.
While KCNA news agency released photos featuring Kim inspecting a fertilizer plant earlier this month, the newspaper claims that he hasn't been seen since, and that US intelligence allegedly hasn't been able to confirm the veracity of the aforementioned images.
"He seems to be out and cutting ribbons on fertilizer factories", US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien told reporters in Washington on Tuesday, as quoted by Bloomberg. "So, you know, our thinking is he is probably doing well."
He noted, however, that he wouldn't confirm whether the US verified Kim's photos' authenticity, noting that North Korea is a hard target for foreign intelligence.
"We call it the hermit kingdom," O’Brien said. "It’s very difficult to get information out of North Korea. They’re not very forthcoming with information, but they did release photos of him being alive and well and we assume that he is."
Claims and speculations about Kim Jong-un’s alleged illness or even death emerged in mid-April after he failed to attend the anniversary of his grandfather's birthday, a key annual political event in the nation.
Said rumors, however, were dealt a serious blow after Kim apparently appeared in public for the opening ceremony of a new fertiliser plant, though that event quickly sparked conspiracy theories about Kim's alleged body double.