(ATTN: UPDATES throughout)
By Koh Byung-joon
SEOUL, May 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended a fertilizer factory completion ceremony, state media reported Saturday, his first public appearance after 20 days of absence that sparked rumors about his health.
The official Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim cut the tape at the ceremony marking the completion of Sunchon Phosphatic Fertilizer Factory in Sunchon, north of Pyongyang. But KCNA has not released photos of him or the ceremony yet.
"All the participants broke into thunderous cheers of 'hurrah!' extending the greatest glory to the Supreme Leader who has brought about a new change in the development of Juche-based fertilizer industry and has led the grand revolutionary advance for strengthening self-supporting economy to a victory with his outstanding leadership," KCNA said.
Juche is the concept of self-reliance.
It marked Kim's first public appearance since April 11, when he presided over a Politburo meeting of the ruling Workers' Party. His absence from an annual event marking the April 15 birth anniversary of his late grandfather and national founder, Kim Il-sung, sparked speculation he might be seriously ill.
South Korean officials have repeatedly rejected such rumors, saying that no unusual movements have been found in North Korea with regard to Kim's health.
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