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The subtle and not-so-subtle of Kim's return

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:39s - Published
The subtle and not-so-subtle of Kim's return

The subtle and not-so-subtle of Kim's return

No explanation has been given by North Korea over Kim Jong Un's sudden reappearance, but video aired by his state-run news agency may hold clues and its own messaging.

Matthew Larotonda reports.

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The sudden reappearance of Kim Jong Un on North Korea's state-run television would mark the first sign of him after weeks of conflicting reports over his health and whereabouts.

But there's a lot more in the footage than just a smiling Kim, relaxed as he apparently tours a new fertilizer factory.

Let's look at what it shows.

First, no explanation is given as to where Kim has been since he was last seen on April 11.

The news anchor -- who is very famous in North Korea -- only talks about the ribbon cutting event itself.

The fertilizer factory is touted as evidence of Kim's progress on keeping his country's economy and food stocks safe and secure in the face of sanctions.

Kim is surrounded by senior officials including his sister, a party leader, and the country's premier.

To international observers though, including the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in California, the factory is believed to be part of North Korea's secret nuclear program.

Uranium can be a byproduct of the process to make certain fertilizers, including the type the factory is said to handle.

The cheering crowds are wearing face masks.

North Korea has said that they do not have any confirmed cases of coronavirus, although some analysts are skeptical of that claim.

And Kim himself may also be walking with a slight limp or stiff left leg, which has happened before.

In 2014 he disappeared for a month and returned with a limp.

A Reuters source has said U.S. intelligence believe that if Kim was absent for medical reasons, they were not life threatening.




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