Kim Jong-un resurfaces after death scare
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been pictured all smiles at a political bureau meeting, months after his apparent disappearance sparked speculation he was on death's door.
The photographs, released by state news agency KCNA, shows Kim discussing the economy at Sunday's meeting of the politburo of his ruling Workers Party.
The enigmatic dictator could be seen little around a large table alongside his longtime aides Choe Ryong Hae and Pak Pong Ju.
None of those at the meeting were wearing face masks and there was no discussion of COVID-19, despite strong scepticism of North Korea's claims it has been unaffected by the pandemic.
Instead, a major focus of the meeting was North Korea's fertiliser production capabilities, KCNA reported.
It said the chemical industry was "a major thrust front of the national economy" and Kim "stressed the need to give top priority to increasing the capacity for producing fertiliser".
Kim made a high-profile return to the public eye late last month at a meeting to discuss his country's nuclear capabilities, after a three-week absence that fuelled rumours of his ill health.
In April, rumours swirled about Kim's health after he was conspicuously absent from a mid-month celebration for the birthday of his grandfather, only to turn up weeks later at the opening of a fertiliser factory.
Unconfirmed reports then emerged that the North Korea leader had died following heart surgery.
Ji Seong-Ho, a North Korean defector, backed the claims telling South Korean media that he was "99 per cent sure" Kim had died.
Officials were quick to douse those rumours, with South Korean parliament member Kim Byung-Keetelling reporters on May 6: "The National Intelligence Service (NIS) assesses that at least he did not get any heart-related procedure or surgery.
"He was normally performing his duties when he was out of the public eye. At least there's no heart-related health problem."
Originally published as Kim Jong-un resurfaces after death scare