(Restores link to previous story)
By James Pearson
SEOUL, Sept 26 Young North Korean leader Kim
Jong Un is suffering from "discomfort", state media has said in
the first official acknowledgement of ill health after a
prolonged period out of the public eye.
Kim, 31, who is frequently the centrepiece of the isolated
country's propaganda, has not been photographed by state media
since appearing at a concert alongside his wife on Sept. 3,
fuelling speculation he is suffering from bad health.
He had been seen walking with a limp since an event with key
officials in July and in a pre-recorded documentary broadcast by
state media on Thursday appeared to have difficulty walking.
"The wealth and prosperity of our socialism is thanks to the
painstaking efforts of our marshal, who keeps lighting the path
for the people, like the flicker of a flame, despite suffering
discomfort," a voice over for the hour-long documentary said.
The documentary was followed by a pre-recorded broadcast of
a North Korean Supreme People's Assembly meeting from which Kim
Jong Un was notably absent.
Kim has rapidly gained weight since coming to power after
his father died of a heart attack in 2011, photos released by
state media show.
North Korea observers speculate Kim's weight and family
background may have contributed to his condition.
"Based on his gait, it appears he has gout - something (due
to) diet and genetic predisposition that has affected other
members of the Kim family," said Michael Madden, an expert on
the North Korean leadership and contributor to the 38 North
(Additional reporting by Seungmyung Roh; Editing by Nick