‘The North Korean version of The Undertaker’: Internet reacts to claims Kim Jong-un is alive after photos of dictator are released for the first time in 20 days following rumours he had died
- Kim Jong-un was last seen on April 11 leading to speculation on his health
- He missed the anniversary celebrations of his grandfather’s birth on April 15
- Reports suggested the despot had been incapacitated or may have even died
- Twitter users were suspicious of newly released photographs of the dictator
Twitter users rejoiced following the return to public life of North Korean despot Kim Jong-un.
Several reports from the hermit state suggested Kim, who is believed to be in his late 30s, could have undergone major surgery or even possibly died.
He had not been seen in public since April 11 and missed the national celebrations for his grandfather and founder of North Korea, Kim Il Sung on April 15.
One twitter user posted a publicity shot from the 1989 buddy movie Weekend at Bernie’s which involves two friends carrying around body of their dead boss pretending he was still alive
Another comedy fan used a Simpsons meme where a patient’s condition is upgraded from ‘dead’ to ‘alive’ after being transferred to a better hospital
This user found inspiration from the 55-year-old WWE Wrestler Mark William Calaway, better known as The Undertaker ,who makes a dramatic entrance to the ring
However, North Korea’s state news agency KCNA released photographs of a smiling Kim inspecting a fertiliser plant outside Pyongyang.
The report said Kim cut a ribbon as the crowd ‘burst into thunderous cheers of ‘hurrah!’ for the Supreme Leader…’.
Twitter users questioned the authenticity of the photographs, with memes ripped from The Simpsons and Weekend at Bernies.
Kim was seen in photographs smiling and talking to aides at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and also touring the plant. The authenticity of the photos, published on the website of the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, could not be verified.
Many in the large crowd of people, described as officials of the army, the ruling party and the community who worked on the project, were wearing face masks and standing some distance from the podium where Kim and his aides took part in the ceremony.
North Korea has not reported any cases of the coronavirus and has said it has been taking tough measures to prevent an outbreak. One reason for Kim’s absence has been the suggestion he may have been taking precautions against coronavirus.
Kim was accompanied by senior North Korean officials, including his younger sister Kim Yo Jong and top aides vice-chairman Pak Pong Ju of the State Affairs Commission and cabinet premier Kim Jae Ryong, and KCNA said.
This social media wag posted an image of a man in an iron lung which was previously used to treat patients suffering from tuberculosis
Kim Jong -un, pictured with his sister Kim Yo Jong, reportedly opened a fertiliser factory north of Pyongyang earlier this week. The images were released by North Korea’s news agency KCNA to stymie rumours that the dictator was incapacitated or even dead
This person appears to be sceptical about the announcement from North Korea
Asked about the KCNA report on Kim, U.S. President Donald Trump said: ‘I’d rather not comment on it yet.’
‘We’ll have something to say about it at the appropriate time,’ he told reporters at the White House.
Speculation about Kim’s health has been rife after he missed the birth anniversary celebrations of state founder Kim Il Sung on April 15. The day is a major holiday in North Korea and Kim as leader usually pays a visit to the mausoleum where his grandfather lies in state.
He last made a public appearance on April 11 attending a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party politburo.
Following his absence from the anniversary, a South Korean news outlet specialising on the North reported that Kim was recovering after undergoing a cardiovascular procedure. A flurry of other unconfirmed reports about his condition and his whereabouts followed.
Officials in South Korea and the United States expressed scepticism about the reports.
State TV footage on Saturday showed Kim’s leg movements appearing stiff and jerky and one of the images showed a green golf cart in the background, similar to one he used in 2014 after a lengthy public absence.
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