(CBS News)-A North Korean news agency announced on Saturday that Kim Jong Un attended a factory opening, which would be his first public appearance in 20 days amid worldwide rumors that he was gravely ill. A senior administration official contacted by CBS News said the U.S. was monitoring and trying to verify the reports.
The government-run daily published confirmation, and North Korean state-run media KCNA published photos it said showed Kim at the ceremony. The photos were published in North Korean paper Rodung Sinmun, the official paper of the Workers’ Party, as well as the South Korean news site Yonhap.
The U.S. has been attempting to verify the status of Kim’s health and whereabouts since he failed to appear at a national holiday event on April 15.
KCNA reported that Kim cut a ribbon at a ceremony at the opening of a fertilizer plant and those attending the event “burst into thunderous cheers of ‘hurrah!’ for the Supreme Leader who is commanding the all-people general march for accomplishing the great cause of prosperity.”
According to KCNA, several senior North Korean officials, including his younger sister Kim Yo Jong, attended the ceremony with him.
Rumors surfaced about Kim’s health when he was absent from events on April 15 honoring the 108th birthday of his grandfather and the country’s founder Kim II Sung.
President Trump weighed in on Kim’s health earlier this week, saying “I do know how he’s doing, relatively speaking. We will see. You’ll probably be hearing in the not-too-distant future.”