A team of foreign medical workers appears to have visited North Korea to treat its leader, Kim Jong Un, a South Korean government official said Friday.
The official, who preferred to remain anonymous, told reporters that Kim appeared to have been limping and that the Seoul government is trying to get details about the medical team that may have visited the communist country.
The North Korean leader was nowhere to be seen at the second session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly Thursday, spurring speculation about his health. The state-owned Korea Central News Agency reported on the high-level meeting in the capital Pyongyang but did not name Kim Jong Un as one of the attendees.
The South Korean government official was not sure whether the 31-year-old leader had injured a leg or an ankle. He also could not confirm reports from North Korea watchers that Kim has had arthroscopic surgery on his ankle.
The source says Kim was last seen in public at a concert on September 3rd, and he has sent letters to various state-sponsored events as late as last week.
The official explained Kim may have considered the second session of this year’s Supreme People’s Assembly as relatively unimportant, assessing the current political situation in North Korea as more or less stable.
South Korea’s Ministry of Unification has yet to make an official announcement on these developments.
“We are paying close attention to the situation, keeping in mind a wide range of scenarios are possible at this point,” said Park Soo-jin, the vice spokesperson for South Korea’s Unification Ministry.
Since assuming office in early 2012, Kim has attended all four sessions of the Supreme People’s Assembly.
Kim Jong Un was seen limping at official events in the past two months. Experts since speculated that he is suffering from either high blood fat levels or diabetes due to heavy drinking and binge-eating.
North Korea experts say they will be watching to see if Kim attends the Workers’ Party anniversary celebration on October 10.
Jee Abbey Lee contributed to this report.