Here Are The Photos That North Korea Says Prove Kim Jong Un Is Back

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North Korea Kim Jong Un skitch

North Korean state media announced on Monday that its leader, Kim Jong Un, was photographed touring a newly built housing complex, marking his first public appearance in over a month.

The photos show Kim walking with a cane, which supports the most plausible theory that Kim sustained an ankle or leg injury that might have required surgery and a subsequent recovery period.

The news was likely meant to quell rumors of serious health issues or a coup in the secretive state. Kim, who is usually eager to be seen out and about at various events, last appeared in public Sept. 3 when he attended a concert with his wife.

His 40-day absence from public was unusually long, leading North Korea observers to speculate that he was no longer in control of the country or was suffering from any number of afflictions, including gout, diabetes, fractured ankles brought on by a cheese addiction, or some sort of leg injury.

Photos released by North Korean state media give the appearance that Kim is back from his temporary absence, but the propaganda agency didn’t say when the photos were taken or when the visit to the housing complex took place.

The Korean Central News Agency story was accompanied by this statement from Kim:

Our scientists are patriots who are devoting all their lives to building a rich and powerful nation, convinced that though there is no frontier in science, they have a socialist motherland and are under the care of the mother party. There is nothing to spare for them. It is necessary to project and treat scientists preferentially and always take care of them.

Here are the photos:

Kim Jong UnKorean Central News AgencyKim Jong Un tours a housing complex in North Korea.

Kim Jong UnKorean Central News AgencyKim Jong Un tours a housing complex in North Korea.

Kim Jong UnKorean Central News AgencyKim Jong Un tours a housing complex in North Korea.

Kim Jong UnREUTERS/KCNANorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance at the newly built Wisong Scientists Residential District in this undated photo.

Kim Jong UnREUTERS/KCNANorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance at the newly built Wisong Scientists Residential District in this undated photo.

Kim Jong UnREUTERS/KCNANorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance at the newly built Wisong Scientists Residential District in this undated photo.

One of the more outlandish theories suggested that ankle fractures brought on by a weight gain from Swiss cheese addiction were the source of Kim’s injury. But a source with access to North Korea’s leadership told Reuters that Kim hurt his leg while overseeing military exercises.

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