North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been out of the public eye for 20 days since attending a concert on Sept. 3 with his wife Ri Sol-ju.
This has led to speculation that he is ill. In July he was seen on state TV in July with a slight limp in his right leg and again earlier this month limping on his left leg.
The official Rodong Sinmun daily on Tuesday claimed Kim "labored on" by paying visits to various facilities braving the hot summer weather. A source says that could be a hint that he is ill with fatigue, but it could equally mean he is on summer holiday.
The North Korean leader appeared in public 17 times in June, 24 times in July and 16 times in August. But his only public appearance in September was the concert.
A Unification Ministry official warned against jumping to conclusions. "In 2012, Kim Jong-un disappeared from view for 23 days and last year for 17 days," the official recalled. "Of course it's possible that there is something wrong with his legs."
Hwang Pyong-so, the head of the Army politburo who constantly shadows Kim during his on-the-spot guidance tours, has also disappeared from view.