Kim Jong-un has been pictured for the first time in three weeks as he continues to make few public appearances amid coronavirus concerns.
The North Korean leader was rumoured to be gravely ill or even dead last month after he missed an important anniversary event.
But he reappeared at a fertiliser factory, and has now been pictured chairing a meeting about the country’s nuclear capabilities.
The meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s powerful Central Military Commission marked Kim’s first public appearance in three weeks
The military meeting to discuss new policies to bolster the country’s nuclear capabilities amid stalled denuclearization talks with the United States, state media KCNA said on Sunday.
He made an unusually small number of outings in the past two months amid coronavirus concerns.
North Korea has imposed strict anti-coronavirus measures although it says it has no confirmed cases.
And pictures from the event appear to show those at the meeting sitting relatively close together – not two metres apart under social distancing guidelines widely adopted elsewhere in the world.
Speculation had erupted about Kim’s wellbeing after the despot missed an annual birthday celebration for his late grandfather – Kim Il-sung, the country’s founder – on April 15.
Taiwan’s National Security Bureau (NSB) director-general Chiu Kuo-cheng reporting last week the leader was “sick” and contingency plans were in place if he were to die.
US-led negotiations aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes have made little progress since late last year, especially after a global battle on coronavirus began.
The meeting discussed measures to bolster armed forces and “reliably contain the persistent big or small military threats from the hostile forces,” KCNA said.
“Set forth at the meeting were new policies for further increasing the nuclear war deterrence of the country and putting the strategic armed forces on a high alert operation,” it said.
“Taken at the meeting were crucial measures for considerably increasing the firepower strike ability of the artillery pieces.”