KEY POINTS

  • Satellite imagery has shown increased activity at Kim's east coast beach house and a lakeside mansion near Pyongyang
  • Kim has taken eight breaks from public activities since January 2021
  • He is expected to make a public appearance on Dec. 17

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has not made a new public appearance in a month, fueling fresh rumors that he may be sick again. 

The leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was last seen on Oct. 12 when he appeared on state media during the coverage of a missile exhibition in Pyongyang, the country’s capital. 

“The U.S. has frequently signaled it’s not hostile to our state, but there is no action-based evidence to make us believe that they are not hostile,” Kim said during the exhibition.

At the time, Kim appeared to have lost a significant amount of weight, leading many to speculate about his health. South Korea’s spy agency later told the U.S. National Intelligence Service that Kim remains healthy despite losing 20 kilograms, noting that his weight loss was likely the result of his efforts to improve his physique, according to NBC News.

The North Korean leader has not been seen since the missile exhibition, making it the longest time he has been absent from public activities since 2014. However, satellite imagery has shown an increased activity at his beach house on the east coast of North Korea and at a lakeside mansion near Pyongyang, according to NK News.

Kim had taken eight breaks from public activities since January of this year. His absence during a national celebration in mid-April fueled rumors that he may be in a coma or may have died following a botched heart surgery. 

The rumors picked up again after he reappeared on April 30 on a first inspection visit around the Sunchon Phosphatic Fertilizer Factory. Footage released by the Korean Central Television (KCTV) showed Kim riding in an electric cart around the property.

While the North Korean leader appeared healthy, experts noted a mark on his arm that suggested he may have had some kind of cardiovascular procedure. Some also commented that his use of a golf cart during the visit indicated he was not 100% healthy, according to ABC News Australia.

North Korea has yet to announce any political events in the coming weeks that would require the leader’s presence. However, he is expected to make a public appearance on Dec. 17 to commemorate his father’s death anniversary. 

Kim Yo Jong (R) is a key policy adviser to her brother Kim Jong Un Kim Yo Jong (R) is a key policy adviser to her brother Kim Jong Un Photo: Korea Summit Press Pool / Korea Summit Press Pool