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North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un Away from Public Eye, Suspected to be In Bad Health

( [email protected] ) Sep 26, 2014 01:47 PM EDT

Kim Jong Un
KCNA

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has not been seen in weeks, and was reportedly absent from a high-level parliament meeting which took place on Thursday. He is suspected to be in ill health, though not much information is available regarding his condition.

Usually the center of North Korean media attention, Kim Jong Un has not been seen since attending a concert with his wife on September 3. While some analysts have suggested that his absence from the public spotlight is due to security concerns, a North Korean state-run television station recently broadcast that the dictator is not feeling well.

The New York Times reports that Kim was not seen in attendance at the Supreme Peoples' Assembly on Thursday, and that it was unusual for the North Korean leader to miss such a high-level governmental meeting. The fact that the state media reported on Kim's ill health also seems strange, as the tightly-controlled press never exposed Kim Jong Il or Kim Il Sung's infirmities - possibly in an attempt to make them appear invincible while they were in power.

The Washington Post reports that the man notorious for persecuting Christians by execution or internment in labor camps was seen limping at a factory visit southwest of Pyongyang in July, which sparked rumors about his health. Kim was limping with his right leg at that time, but was later seen limping with his left leg in public. South Korean analysts suspect that the young dictator might be suffering from arthritis and from ill health related to obesity.