Amid rumors of illness, Kim Jong Un, the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) made his first public appearance in 20 days, according to the country's state media Saturday.
Kim Friday attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony of a fertilizer plant in Sunchon, South Pyongan Province, according to DPRK state news agency KCNA.
"All the participants broke into thunderous cheers of 'hurrah!', extending the greatest glory to the Supreme Leader who has brought about a new change" in the development of fertilizer industry, the report said.
A completion ceremony of the Sunchon Phosphatic Fertilizer Factory, which has been built as the production base of fertilizer, was splendidly held on May Day, the international holiday of the working people of the whole world, the report added.
During the ceremony, Kim inspected several functions and places, including raw material processing, yellow phosphorus production, ammonium phosphatic fertilizer production, and the packing process.
"Now it has become possible for the agricultural workers to concentrate all their efforts on attaining the grain goal set forth by the party with assurances," KCNA quoted him as saying with satisfaction.
Kim was joined by his sister Kim Yo Jong as well as other senior officials, including Pak Pong Ju, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, it added.
Pak Pong Ju made an inauguration speech, saying the completion of the factory was a great, auspicious event which has brought great delight to all the agricultural workers and other people of the country.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un remained out of public view for the 20th straight day Thursday amid persisting speculation about his health and who will take over the nuclear-armed communist nation after him South Korean news agency Yonhap reports.
Kim was last seen in state media on April 11 presiding over a Politburo
meeting of the ruling Workers' Party. State media have since carried reports about him handling state affairs, such as sending messages to foreign leaders, but no photo or video of him has been released.
Sparking speculation about Kim's health was his absence from a key ceremony commemorating the 108th birth anniversary of his late grandfather and national founder, Kim Il-sung. He has never skipped a visit to the mausoleum on the April 15 anniversary since taking office in late 2011.
The rumor mill was further fanned after CNN reported last week, citing a U.S. official, that Washington is looking into intelligence that Kim is in "grave danger" after a surgery. Other foreign media outlets have carried similar reports.