For the first time in three years, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wasn't on a list of dignitaries at a celebration of the anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party. The apparent no-show will add to mounting speculation that something is amiss with the authoritarian leader, who hasn't been seen publicly in more than a month.
An official state media dispatch listed senior government, military and party officials who paid their respects at an event marking the party's 69th anniversary, but not Kim. It said a flower basket with Kim's name on it was placed before statues of his father and grandfather, both of whom also ruled North Korea. State media earlier said that the might of the party "is growing stronger under the seasoned guidance of Marshal Kim Jong Un." Kim, who is thought to be 31, hasn't been seen performing his customary public duties in state media since he attended a concert Sept. 3. He had been walking with a limp and was more overweight than usual in images that aired before that. An official documentary from late last month described him as dealing with "discomfort," which led to international speculation that he may be ill.
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