North Korean leader seen limping on state TV

November 6, 2014
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made his first public appearance in 40 days Oct. 14.  (Yonhap)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made his first public appearance in 40 days Oct. 14. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — In his first video footage since returning to public view following a conspicuous absence, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Thursday was seen slightly limping on the communist country’s state television.

The Korean Central Television showed Kim walking without a cane as he held a meeting of battalion commanders and political instructors of the country’s troops in Pyongyang on Monday and Tuesday.

This was the first moving image of Kim since he returned to the public eye on Oct. 14, ending a six-week absence that fueled speculation about his health or a possible military coup in North Korea. A photo of Kim published on Wednesday at the meeting also showed the young leader without a walking stick.

Kim’s health is of great interest in Seoul and Washington, since he has his hand on the switch of Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

In the video footage, Kim entered the meeting hall and walked up to the podium without a cane, but showed a slight limp as he was favoring his left leg.

On Oct. 28, two South Korean legislators said Kim was recovering from an operation to remove a cyst from his left ankle, and that the condition could recur because of his obesity and frequent inspection trips.

The lawmakers cited a report presented by the National Intelligence Service in a closed-door parliamentary audit.

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