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Where in the World Is Kim Jong Un?

  • VOA News

FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks through a pair of binoculars during an inspection of the defense detachment on Ung Islet, in an undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang July 7, 2014.

FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks through a pair of binoculars during an inspection of the defense detachment on Ung Islet, in an undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang July 7, 2014.

North Korea's 31-year-old supreme leader has not been seen in public in more than month -- at a time when a high-level Pyongyang delegation made a surprise visit to South Korea in an apparent peace initiative.

His disappearance from public view has stirred rumors of coups, health problems and even a possible civil war in the Hermit Kingdom.

Kim Jong Un, who succeeded his father Kim Jong Il in 2011, was last seen September 3 attending a concert by his favorite pop group, the Moranbong Band, an all-girl group consisting of five young women, all hand-picked by Kim.

He was a no-show when the North Korean parliament convened September 26 for its second session of the year. That caught the attention of the media.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency recently quoted a source "familiar with North Korea" as saying Kim suffers from gout -- which runs in the family -- in addition to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, all related to obesity and his fondness for Emmantal cheese.

Some observers say that his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, has stepped in to fill the void. She is the youngest child of Kim Jong Il.

Rumors took a more serious turn Saturday when Kim Jong Un's top deputies traveled to South Korea for the highest-level face-to-face talks in five years.

The delegation was led by Huwang Pyong So -- believed to be Kim's Number two.

With rumors flying, the outside world will get one important clue on the fate of Kim Jong Un on Friday when North Korea mounts its very public ceremonies to mark the founding of the Korean Worker's Party.

If the supreme leader fails to show at this must-see event, it could signal he has very serious problems, physical or political.

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