- President Donald Trump said Saturday he was “glad to see” that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is alive and well after vanishing from the public eye for nearly three weeks.
- Photos released Friday showed Kim cutting a ribbon at a fertilizer factory.
- Speculation had run rampant about Kim’s whereabouts for roughly 20 days, sparking rumors that the leader was recovering from surgery or very ill.
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President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday evening that he was happy to see proof that Kim Jong Un was alive and well, after the North Korean leader disappeared for nearly three weeks, sparking rumors about severe illness or even death.
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 2, 2020
On Friday, when news first broke of Kim’s appearance, Trump told reporters he “may” speak with the North Korean leader this weekend.
Kim had not been seen publicly for 20 days, since an April 11 Workers’ Party meeting on the coronavirus outbreak sweeping across the globe.
Speculation ran rampant on April 15, when Kim missed the nation’s most important holiday — the birthday of Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founding father and Kim Jong Un’s grandfather.
Some rumors indicated that Kim was gravely ill after undergoing a heart surgery, but intelligence from South Korea indicated that the leader was still governing the country as usual, but staying outside the capital.
South Korea’s government said repeatedly they had detected no unusual developments across their northern border.
Analysts who watched video footage of Kim’s reappearance at the fertilizer plant on Friday said Kim appeared to be recovering from a medical condition, noting a slight stiffness to his walk, according to the Associated Press.