North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un attends a meeting. File photo
North Korea's state media reported on leader Kim Jong-un expressing his "appreciation" for people working to build facilities in a northern border town on Sunday but continued to remain quiet about his public activities for two weeks amid growing rumours about his health.
"Comrade Kim Jong-un sent appreciation to workers earnestly and wholeheartedly supporting in furnishing Samjiyon," South Korea's Yonhap News Agency quoted Pyongyang state radio as saying in a report on Sunday.
Samjiyon is located at the foot of Mount Paekdu, the highest peak on the Korean Peninsula, known to be the birthplace of Kim's late father and former leader Kim Jong-il.
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The report, however, did not provide other details that could provide clues about Kim Jong-un's whereabouts or health conditions.
Other state media, including the Korean Central News Agency and the Rodong Sinmun, did not report on his public activities either, nor did they provide any photos of the leader.
Kim Jong-un has been out of public view since he was last seen on April 11 chairing a major party meeting, reports Yonhap News Agency.
He skipped an important annual trip to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun on the occasion of the April 15 birthday of the late state founder and his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, sparking rumours over what was behind his unprecedented no-show at the mausoleum.
Last week, CNN intensified speculation about his health by reporting earlier this week that the US was looking into intelligence that Kim Jong-un is "in grave danger" after surgery, but Seoul and Washington officials have disputed the report.
It is not rare for Kim to disappear from the public view but whenever it happens, rumours spread about his health, with most of the cases having proved to be false.
He re-emerged after about a three-week absence by visiting the mausoleum to mark his late father's birthday on February 15.
Indo-Asian News Service
Rimjin-gang, a Japan-based magazine that also cultivates sources in North Korea, reported this month that the new law bans speaking or writing in South Korean styles.
Kim's health has deteriorated in recent months due to heavy smoking, obesity and overwork, the Daily NK report said. Reporting from inside North Korea is notoriously difficult, especially on matters concerning the country's leadership, given tight controls on information.
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By firing two short-range ballistic missiles on Wednesday, only days after it launched two other similar missiles, North Korea is clearly testing the patience of the international community. Pyongyang should realise that it is heading in the wrong direction if its intention is to apply pressure tactics on the world community.
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