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N. Korea media indicates Kim absent from key anniversary event

NORTH KOREA - North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un apparently missed a key political anniversary event Friday, extending a month-long absence that has fuelled rampant speculation about his physical health and political future.

AFP PHOTO / JUNG YEON-JE

Kim's name was not listed by the state KCNA news agency among the officials who made an annual pilgrimage to the mausoleum in Pyongyang housing the remains of his father and grandfather.

However, a floral tribute bearing Kim's name was presented to the two statues of Kim Jong-Il and Kim Il-Sung in the Kumsusan Palace mausoleum.

Among those present during the ceremony, in which Kim has participated for the past two years, was the man widely seen as his de-factor number two, Hwang Pyong-So.

Kim, believed to be 30 or 31, has not been seen since September 3, when he attended a music concert with his wife in Pyongyang.

Competing theories for his disappearance range widely from an extended rest period to a leadership coup, via a long list of possible illnesses and ailments including broken ankles, gout and diabetes.

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