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North Korea's Kim Jong-Un remains missing, skips key event

Speculation was rife about the health condition of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un after he missed a key political anniversary event Friday.

Updated: Oct 10, 2014, 10:49 AM IST

Seoul: Speculation was rife about the health condition of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un after he missed a key political anniversary event Friday.

Besides questions on his health, Kim's month-long absence has fuelled rumour of a possible leadership coup with reports suggesting that his 27-year-old sister Kim Yo Jong might be at the helm of the secretive country.

Kim, 31, was last seen in public on September 3 when he attended a concert with his wife in Pyongyang. Before that, he was seen walking with a limp in July at the 20th anniversary memorial commemorating the death of his grandfather, the nation's founder.

He was expected to make an annual pilgrimage to the mausoleum in Pyongyang housing the remains of his father and grandfather today but official news agency KCNA said he was not present for the event.

However, a floral tribute bearing Kim`s name was presented to the two statues of Kim Jong-Il and Kim Il-Sung in the Kumsusan Palace mausoleum.

Among those present during the ceremony, in which Kim has participated for the past two years, was the man widely seen as his de-factor number two, Hwang Pyong-So.

However, news agency Reuters claimed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is in firm control.

The news agency quoted a source, with access to the secretive North`s leadership, playing down speculation over Kim's health and grip on power in the nuclear-capable nation.

The source said that Kim had hurt his leg while inspecting military exercises.

"He ordered all the generals to take part in drills and he took part too. They were crawling and running and rolling around, and he pulled a tendon," the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

"He injured his ankle and knee around late August or early September while drilling because he is overweight. He limped around in the beginning but the injury worsened," the source said.

Kim, who has rapidly gained weight since coming to power after his father died of a heart attack in 2011, had been seen walking with a limp since an event with important officials in July, which would imply he may have aggravated an earlier injury.

Kim needs about 100 days to recuperate, said the source, whose information could not be independently verified.

"Kim Jong Un is in total control," said the source.