Where has Kim Jong-un been?

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Where's Kim Jong-Un? North Korea Acknowledges Health Issue

(Reuters) - Young North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is suffering from "discomfort", state media has said in the first official acknowledgement of ill health after a prolonged period out of the public eye.

Kim, 31, who is frequently the centerpiece of the isolated country's propaganda, has not been photographed by state media since appearing at a concert alongside his wife on Sept. 3, fueling speculation he is suffering from bad health.

He had been seen walking with a limp since an event with key officials in July and in a pre-recorded documentary broadcast by state media on Thursday appeared to have difficulty walking.

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Where has Kim Jong-un been?
Kim Jong Un flashes his computer skills for gathered North Korean officials. (KCNA/Reuters/Corbis)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - DECEMBER 17: South Korean conservative protesters burn an effigy of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un during an anti-North Korea protest marking the second anniversary of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's death on December 17, 2013 in Seoul, South Korea. The tension is heightened in South Korea since the report that North Korea has executed Jang Song-Thaek, Kim Jong Un's uncle on December 13, 2013. On December 17, 2013 North Korea also commemorates two years since the death of former leader Kim Jong-il. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - DECEMBER 17: South Korean conservative protesters shout slogans during an anti-North Korea protest marking the second anniversary of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's death on December 17, 2013 in Seoul, South Korea. The tension is heightened in South Korea since the report that North Korea has executed Jang Song-Thaek, Kim Jong Un's uncle on December 13, 2013. On December 17, 2013 North Korea also commemorates two years since the death of former leader Kim Jong-il. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
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"The wealth and prosperity of our socialism is thanks to the painstaking efforts of our marshal, who keeps lighting the path for the people, like the flicker of a flame, despite suffering discomfort," a voice over for the hour-long documentary said.

The documentary was followed by a pre-recorded broadcast of a North Korean Supreme People's Assembly meeting from which Kim Jong Un was notably absent.

Kim has rapidly gained weight since coming to power after his father died of a heart attack in 2011, photos released by state media show.

North Korea observers speculate Kim's weight and family background may have contributed to his condition.

"Based on his gait, it appears he has gout - something (due to) diet and genetic predisposition that has affected other members of the Kim family," said Michael Madden, an expert on the North Korean leadership and contributor to the 38 North website.



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