Kim Jong-Un has not been seen in public for three weeks, and now a North Korea expert has a possible explanation: the leader has gout reports skynews.com.
Since being filmed in July with a distinctive limp, speculation has been rife that the 31-year-old is in ill health.
Even North Korea’s state media, which has tried to avoid the issue since Mr Kim’s last public appearance on 3 September, has conceded that the leader has been suffering from “discomfort”.
A voiceover for a pre-recorded documentary, aired on Thursday, said: “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.”
According to Michael Madden, an expert on leadership in the secretive state, Mr Kim’s extreme weight gain and family history reveals a lot about 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,” he added.
Kim Jong-Un’s father, Kim Jong-Il, died in 2011 after a heart attack.
Much of the speculation over Mr Kim’s health had come from the South Korean government, who had monitored his recent absence from public life “with interest”.
On Thursday, Mr Kim failed to attend a rare meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly in Pyongyang, his first absence since coming to power.