Kim Jong-un ‘strengthening defence’ says expert
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The Supreme leader has missed several key events in the North Korean calendar including a key photo opportunity in a political congress in Pyongyang. Local media said his last appearance was on May 6 when he attended an event for military families.
Last week, the 37-year-old leader missed the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea (GFTUK).
The GFTUK – along with the country’s youth league, women’s union and agricultural workers’ union – are considered “transmission belts of the Party”.
His disappearance comes after he ordered a man to be shot by the firing squad in front of 500 people for illegally selling music and films.
This is not the first Kim has disappeared throughout the coronavirus pandemic last year.
Back in February last year, the Supreme leader vanished for nearly three weeks without any speculation surrounding his health.
A few months later, he disappeared for 12 days and rumours he had died or was seriously ill following a botched heart operation began to surface.
However, a month later in May, the secretive state released footage showing Kim visiting a newly-opened fertiliser plant in his country appearing to quash the health rumours.
Bizarre rumours began to emerge the Supreme leader used a “body double” following speculation he had died.
Some people claimed it was not Kim after images emerged three weeks after his disappearance and that he is using a body double.
They insisted the North Korean leader’s features including his nose, ears and hair were not the same.
Human rights activist Jennifer Zeng first pointed out differences and tweeted at the time: “Is the Kim Jong-un appearing on May 1 the real one?”
Commenting on her post, one Twitter user said: “The teeth are completely different.”
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Another wrote: “They are defiantly not the same person. Teeth, hairline, hair, lips and ears. Close but not identical.”
Former US President Donald Trump also said rubbished rumours the dictator had died after tweeting: “Kim Jong-un is in good health.
“Never underestimate him!”
Since the outbreak of coronavirus, the hermit state has continued to claim the country has no cases of the deadly virus.
In December, the World Health Organisation said the country had identified more than 8,000 suspected coronavirus cases but no one has tested positive.
In a bid to stop the spread of the virus, North Korea has suspended almost all international flights and cross-border train and road traffic.
Last year, the Supreme leader introduced a draconian rule allowing guards to shoot anyone trying to cross the border.
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