Well, it was fun while it lasted. After a 40 day absence, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un has apparently walked back into the public eye and put to rest all the wild rumors and crazy coup speculations.
That's according to a report from North Korea's notoriously trustworthy state-run media: the party's newspaper, Rodong Sinmun (row-dung shin-moon), ran a front-page spread about the leader's inspection tour of a new housing unit.
The article was accompanied by photos of Kim, using a cane but otherwise looking happy and healthy, surrounded by some of his top advisors.
It's his first public appearance since Sept. 3, when Kim attended a concert with his wife. Since then, Kim has been absent from several important events, leading observers to speculate the leader had fallen sick, injured himself, or had even been overthrown. (Video via Sky News)
But all that speculation is behind us, now that Kim's back in the spotlight. Right?
GORDON CHANG VIA CNN: "I think they're keeping him as a figurehead, and that means he can sort of come out in these photos, but that's about it."
Certainly, North Korea's reliance on massively distorted propaganda has lead some Western outlets to take this report with a grain of salt. And since the article doesn't mention why Kim disappeared, there are still a lot of questions about his health floating around.
But the article has, at least, quieted some of the coup rumors — at least for now. A Foreign Policy writer observes, "North Korea is much like a coasting bicycle whose rider long ago dismounted. At some point the bike will topple, but it is extremely difficult to predict when that will arrive."
This video contains images from Rodong Sinmun.