North Korean Leader Reappears in State Media Clutching Cane
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made his first public appearance in more than 40 days, resurfacing in state media photos carrying a cane.
The official Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday Mr. Kim visited a residential district and a science institute where he gave "field guidance," a regular routine for the young leader.
KCNA, along with the country's main newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, published several photos of a smiling Mr. Kim leaning on a black cane, which he held in his left hand.
The reports did not say when the photos were taken. They also did not mention Mr. Kim's prolonged absence or explain why he was carrying the cane.
The disappearance of Mr. Kim, regarded by many North Koreans as a near divine figure, prompted global speculation he was suffering a serious health or political problem.
Lim Jae-chun, a North Korean studies professor at Korea University, tells VOA that Pyongyang may have released the photos in response to the rumors.
The North Korean leader, believed to be 31 years of age, succeeded his father Kim Jong Il in 2011. He had last been seen September 3 at a concert by his favorite pop group, the Moranbong Band, a group consisting of five young women, all hand-picked by Mr. Kim.
He then missed several high-profile political events, including a meeting of the country's ceremonial parliament in late September and last Friday's anniversary of the ruling Korean Worker's Party.
Turkey Bombs Kurdish Separatist Targets
Media reports in Turkey say government warplanes have bombed Kurdish nationalist rebels in southeast of the country in the first significant air operation against the group since peace talks began two years ago.
The Hurriyet newspaper says the jets hit Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) targets in Hakkari province on Sunday.
The bombings are said to be a response to shootings by the PKK at a military outpost in the area. They come amid increased internal tension over Turkey's inaction against the Islamic State.
Protesters in recent weeks have called for the Turkish military to intervene across the Syrian border, where IS militants have surrounded Kobani.
The PKK issued a call to arms in September for Kurds to defend the largely Kurdish town.
The renewed conflict between Turkey and the PKK jeopardizes a fragile peace process launched by Ankara and rebel leadership in 2012 after three decades of insurgency killed more than 40,000 people.