Satellite photos locate Kim Jong Un’s train as health rumours persist

Satellite photos locate Kim Jong Un's train as health rumours persist

Satellite imagery has found a train likely belonging to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as speculation continues over his health, according to a website specialising in studies of the country.

North Korean authorities have said nothing to counter media reports that Mr Kim is unwell, prompting concerns about who is next in line to run a nuclear-armed country that has been ruled by the same family for seven decades.

The satellite photos provided by website 38 North and Airbus show the train has been parked at Mr Kim's compound in Wonsan on his country's east coast since at least April 21.

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People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a mass rally and parade in the capital's main ceremonial square, a day after the ruling party wrapped up its first congress in 36 years by elevating him to party chairman, in Pyongyang, North Korea, May 10, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provides field guidance at the construction site of Ryomyong Street in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on March 16, 2017. KCNA/via ReutersATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS.Ê TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Un satélite localiza el tren de Kim Jong Un en un balneario nocoreano
Satellite photos locate Kim Jong Un’s train as health rumours persist
Cette photographie satellite du train personnel de Kim Jong-un est l'un des rares indices quant à l'état de santé du dictateur nord-coréen.
A woman works at the Kim Jong Suk silk mill in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. The silk mill, named after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's grandmother, is where more than a thousand workers – mostly women – sort and process silkworms to produce silk thread. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance to the Kumsong Tractor Factory in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on November 15, 2017. KCNA via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance to various units in Samjiyon County, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang December 9, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Visitors walk before a viewpoint overlooking the North Korean shoreline (C) and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, on the South Korean island of Ganghwa on April 23, 2020. - The United States will keep seeking North Korea's denuclearization no matter who is in charge in Pyongyang, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, amid speculation about leader Kim Jong Un's health. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
In this Nov. 26, 2019, photo, men wait for public transport near a propaganda photo showing North Korean 'soldiers-builders' in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump have signaled their affection for each other so regularly it might be easy to miss rising fears that the head-spinning diplomatic engagement of the past two years is falling apart. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is hugged by children during his visit to Samjiyon County in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang November 28, 2016. REUTERS/KCNA ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A woman works at the Kim Jong Suk silk mill in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. The silk mill, named after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's grandmother, is where more than a thousand workers – mostly women – sort and process silkworms to produce silk thread. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a newly built sports goods factory in Pyongyang in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 2, 2016. KCNA/ via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects Samjiyon County, in this undated photo released on October 30, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA/via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides a drill of mortar sub-units of North Korean Army in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 10, 2020. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un visits Taesong Department Store just before its opening, in this photo released on April 8, 2019 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with the delegation that had visited the United States, in Pyongyang, North Korea in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on January 23, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a nursery in Kangwon Province in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 24, 2018. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un hold a summit at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un is seen as the newly developed intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-15's test was successfully launched, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang November 30, 2017. REUTERS/KCNA ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and China's President Xi Jinping is displayed during a North Korean delegation's visit in Beijing, China, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on January 30, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose for photographs on the top of Mt. Paektu, North Korea September 20, 2018. Pyeongyang Press Corps/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smiles as he provides field guidance at a catfish plant in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 5, 2018. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts with members of the Korean People's Army scientists and engineers in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in an unknown location in North Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 15, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. PICTURE BLURRED AT SOURCE. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un poses with participants during the 8th Congress of the Korean Children's Union (KCU) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, North Korea June 8, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
A photo taken on September 13, 2019 shows passengers in the departure area of the airport in North Korea's northern city of Samjiyon. - The monumental construction project in the far reaches of North Korea ordered by leader Kim Jong Un, involves nothing less than the rebuilding of the entire town of Samjiyon, the seat of a county which includes the supposed birthplace of Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il, and Mount Paektu, the spiritual birthplace of the Korean nation. The plan includes a museum of revolutionary activities, a winter sports training complex, processing plants for blueberries and potatoes -- two of the area's most important crops -- a new railway line to Hyesan, and 10,000 apartments. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) / To go with NKorea-politics-economy-construction-Samjiyon, FOCUS by Sebastien Berger (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
In this image made from video of a still image broadcasted by North Korea's KRT on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, equipped with binoculars, supervises a rocket launch test. North Korea said Thursday, Aug. 1, leader Kim supervised the first test firing of a new multiple rocket launcher system that could potentially enhance its ability to strike targets in South Korea and U.S. military bases there.(KRT via AP Video)
La notizia secondo cui il dittatore sarebbe morto o in stato vegetativo dopo un intervento al cuore è stata diffusa da più fonti. Ma al momento non ci sono conferme
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A photo taken on September 10, 2019 shows a car passing along a street in North Korea's northern city of Samjiyon. - The monumental construction project in the far reaches of North Korea ordered by leader Kim Jong Un, involves nothing less than the rebuilding of the entire town of Samjiyon, the seat of a county which includes the supposed birthplace of Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il, and Mount Paektu, the spiritual birthplace of the Korean nation. The plan includes a museum of revolutionary activities, a winter sports training complex, processing plants for blueberries and potatoes -- two of the area's most important crops -- a new railway line to Hyesan, and 10,000 apartments. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) / To go with NKorea-politics-economy-construction-Samjiyon, FOCUS by Sebastien Berger (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: South Korean people watch a TV broadcasting a news report on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Seoul, South Korea, April 21, 2020. REUTERS/Heo Ran/File Photo
Is Kim Jong Un Dead or Alive? Here's What Reports Say About Health Condition of North Korea's Supreme Leader
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un rides a horse as he visits battle sites in areas of Mt Paektu, Ryanggang, North Korea, in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 4, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Visitors look on the northern side at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Sunday, April 26, 2020. A train likely belonging to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been parked at his compound on the country's east coast since last week, satellite imagery showed, amid speculation about his health that has been caused, in part, by a long period out of the public eye. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
A worker carries repair material near a wire fence decorated with ribbons written with messages wishing for the reunification of the two Koreas at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. South Korean officials reported no unusual activity in North Korea on Tuesday following unconfirmed media reports that leader Kim Jong Un was in fragile health after surgery. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) looks through a periscope of a submarine during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167 in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang June 16, 2014. REUTERS/KCNA (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY MARITIME) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA
A visitor uses binoculars to see the northern side at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. South Korean officials reported no unusual activity in North Korea on Tuesday following unconfirmed media reports that leader Kim Jong Un was in fragile health after surgery. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
South Korean army soldiers wearing protective suits stand guard at the Unification Bridge, which leads to the Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone in Paju, South Korea, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. The South Korean government said Tuesday no unusual activity has been detected in North Korea after unconfirmed reports described leader Kim Jong Un as in fragile condition after heart surgery. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
A South Korean army soldier watches the North Korea side from the Unification Observation Post in Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019. U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be planning to give him "a nice present" such as a "beautiful vase" for Christmas rather than a missile launch.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the launch of a Hwasong-12 missile in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 16, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
In this image made from video of a still image broadcasted by North Korea's KRT on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, watches test firings of an unspecified new weapons system at an undisclosed location in North Korea. North Korea said Sunday leader Kim supervised the test-firings, which extended a streak of launches that are seen as an attempt to build leverage ahead of negotiations with the United States while driving a wedge between Washington and Seoul.(KRT via AP Video)
A visitor stands at a viewpoint overlooking the North Korean shoreline (C) and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, on the South Korean island of Ganghwa on April 23, 2020. - The United States will keep seeking North Korea's denuclearization no matter who is in charge in Pyongyang, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, amid speculation about leader Kim Jong Un's health. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
South Korean soldiers patrol along a barbed wire fence Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, on the South Korean island of Ganghwa on April 23, 2020. - The United States will keep seeking North Korea's denuclearization no matter who is in charge in Pyongyang, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, amid speculation about leader Kim Jong Un's health. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - APRIL 21: People watch a television broadcast reporting on North Korean Kim Jong-un at the Seoul Railway Station on April 21, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea has seen no unusual signs with regard to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's health, a government source said Tuesday, after US media reported that Kim is "in grave danger after a surgery." (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
PYONGYANG, Dec. 3, 2019 -- Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, attends a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the township of Samjiyon County in the northern part of the DPRK, marking the completion of the county's construction, on Dec. 2, 2019. The Samjiyon County, where Kim's father Kim Jong Il was born, "has turned into an example of a mountainous modern city under socialism," the official Korean Central News Agency said. (Photo by KCNA/Handout/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images)
A photo taken on September 10, 2019 shows passengers disembarking from a Tupolev TU-134 aircraft upon arrival in North Korea's northern city of Samjiyon. - The monumental construction project in the far reaches of North Korea ordered by leader Kim Jong Un, involves nothing less than the rebuilding of the entire town of Samjiyon, the seat of a county which includes the supposed birthplace of Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il, and Mount Paektu, the spiritual birthplace of the Korean nation. The plan includes a museum of revolutionary activities, a winter sports training complex, processing plants for blueberries and potatoes -- two of the area's most important crops -- a new railway line to Hyesan, and 10,000 apartments. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) / To go with NKorea-politics-economy-construction-Samjiyon, FOCUS by Sebastien Berger (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un sits in his vehicle after arriving at the Dong Dang railway station, Vietnam, at the border with China, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a drill of long-range artillery sub-units of the Korean People's Army, in North Korea in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 2, 2020.?KCNA?via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects Yangdok Hot Spring Resort in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 14, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves to the people during a parade to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of a truce in the 1950-1953 Korean War, at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang July 27, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY ANNIVERSARY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a submarine factory in an undisclosed location, North Korea, in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 23, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Jungphyong Vegetable Greenhouse Farm and Tree Nursery in Kyongsong County, North Korea, in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on October 18, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives at the railway station in the Russian far-eastern city of Vladivostok, Russia, April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a luncheon with Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East Alexander Kozlov and governor of Primorsky Region Oleg Kozhemyako, in this undated photo released on April 27, 2019 by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un attend an official reception following their talks in Vladivostok, Russia April 25, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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The photos do not provide any clarity over Mr Kim's health, but they do confirm South Korean government intelligence that he is staying outside of the capital, Pyongyang.

Seoul has also said repeatedly that there have been no signs from the North that Mr Kim is unwell.

Questions about his health flared after he skipped an April 15 commemoration of the 108th birthday of his grandfather, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.

Satellite photos locate Kim Jong Un's train as health rumours persist

The annual commemoration is North Korea's most important event, and Mr Kim, 36, had not missed it since inheriting power from his father in late 2011.

North Korea's state media on Wednesday said Mr Kim sent a message thanking Syria's president for conveying greetings on his grandfather's birthday, but did not report any other activities.

Rival South Korea repeated no unusual developments had been detected in the North.

Mr Kim has been out of the public eye for extended periods in the past, and North Korea's secretive nature allows few outsiders to assert confidently whether he might be unwell, let alone incapacitated.

Still, questions about the North's political future are likely to grow if he fails to attend forthcoming public events.

Mr Kim is the third generation of his family to rule North Korea, and a strong personality cult has been built around him, his father and grandfather.

The family's mythical "Paektu" bloodline, named after the highest peak on the Korean Peninsula, is said to give only direct family members the right to rule the nation.

Kim Yo Jong
North Korea's Kim Yo Jong, centre at rear, is the most likely to succeed her brother (Mike Egerton/PA)

That makes Mr Kim's younger sister, senior ruling party official Kim Yo Jong, the most likely candidate to step in if her brother is gravely ill, incapacitated or dies.

But some experts say a collective leadership, which could end the family's dynastic rule, could also be possible.

A collective leadership would likely be headed by Choe Ryong Hae, North Korea's ceremonial head of state who officially ranks No.2 in the country's current power hierarchy, Mr Nam said.

But Mr Choe is still not a Kim family member, and that could raise questions about his legitimacy and put North Korea into deeper political chaos, according to other observers.

Other Kim family members who might take over include Kim Pyong Il, the 65-year-old half-brother of Kim Jong Il, who reportedly returned home in November after decades in Europe as a diplomat.

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