North Korea’s ambassador to the UK, Hyon Hak Bong, has told the BBC that Kim Jong-un is healthy, adding that there is “no doubt about it”.
His words seem to contradict those of the state media, which reported in September that Kim was “suffering discomfort” in a voiceover for a pre-recorded documentary.
Reuters had previously been told that Kim had injured his ankle and would need “about 100 days” to recover, while experts believe the leader has been deposed in a military coup and removed from the capital.
Kim has not been seen in public since 3 September, where his weight appeared to have ballooned and he was walking with a limp.
Michael Madden, an expert on the North Korean leadership and a contributor to the North 38 website, said of Kim’s appearance on his last outing: “Based on his gait, it appears he has gout – something [due to] diet and genetic predisposition that has affected other members of the Kim family.”