North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has not made any public appearances for the past 24 days, Lee Jong-joo, spokesperson of the unification ministry, told a regular press briefing on May 31.
According to him, Kim was last seen in public on May 7 when he held a photo session with families of the North's army after watching their performance the previous day: "This marks the longest period there have been no reports of (Kim's) public activities this year."
Lee, however, did not provide any possible reason for his absence from public view, saying it was inappropriate to make an assessment at this point.
His 20-day absence last year also sparked worldwide speculation over his health and even the possibility of his death. That speculation was soon dismissed when he reappeared at a ceremony marking the completion of a fertilizer factory with a broad smile in early May.
The North Korean leader came to power in 2011 after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il.