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North Korean state TV says Kim Jong Un 'suffering discomfort'

North Korean state propaganda has given its first public acknowledgment that its Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un has been afflicted with some kind of health problem.

"The wealth and prosperity of our socialism is thanks to the painstaking efforts of our marshal," says the voiceover in an hour-long documentary piece, "who keeps lighting the path for the people, like the flicker of a flame, despite suffering discomfort."

This comes after Kim has not been photographed in public for about three weeks, Reuters reports. He was also absent from a meeting of the country's official parliament, the Supreme People's Assembly, which is in turn an organ of the Workers' Party regime.

Kim has been seen walking with a limp — possibly from a case of gout — in addition to his serious weight gain since taking power after the death of his father Kim Jong Il.