North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un continues to remain missing from the public eye, 12 days after he was presented before the world through photographs while inaugurating a fertilizer plant near Pyongyang on May 1.

Quashing rumors related to his ill health and death which floated because of his 21-day absence, Kim appeared to be hale and hearty in the photographs and videos released by the state media.

US intelligence is hopeful Kim Jong Un is 'doing well'

Kim's absence from the public platform, running into the 12th day, has kept the US Intelligence agencies on its toes. Bloomberg reported that US authorities are hoping that the tyrant is doing well. Speaking to reporters in Washington, White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said: "He seems to be out and cutting ribbons on fertilizer factories. So, you know, our thinking is he is probably doing well."

Remaining evasive about the authenticity of the photographs released by the North Korean state media of the May 1 event, O'Brien said that intelligence "can't say one way or the other" whether the recent "open source" photos of Kim were real. "We call it the hermit kingdom. It's very difficult to get information out of North Korea. They're not very forthcoming with information, but they did release photos of him being alive and well and we assume that he is," he said.

Speculations behind Kim's absence continue to float

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Even though the North Korean authorities remained evasive about the reason behind the absence of their leader, speculations related to Kim undergoing a major cardiovascular surgery continues.

According to an expert on North Korea, the dictator purposefully faked his own death in order to expose traitors in his inner circle, according to an expert on North Korea. Sky News Australia reporter, James Morrow, said that Kim pulled a "classic Stalinist maneuver" to see what the response was like to news of his death among his close aides and see who tried to succeed him as the leader of North Korea.

"What has probably gone on here that the rumors of his demise were greatly exaggerated. He decided to do this, lay low, and see how things broke power wise, and see who tried to take power in the event of his actual demise. I suspect we will see some purges in North Korea pretty soon," he had stated.

Another theory suggested that the North Korean authorities used Kim's body double to stage the photographs during the May 1 event. Last week, the North Korean leader had sent a formal message to China praising President Xi Jinping for his "success" in managing the coronavirus.