North Korea's TV airs video of leader Kim Jong Un walking with limp

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un attends a photo session with Korean People's Army battalion commanders in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency on Nov 5, 2014. North Korean state TV has aired footage of Kim Jong Un
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un attends a photo session with Korean People's Army battalion commanders in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency on Nov 5, 2014. North Korean state TV has aired footage of Kim Jong Un for the first time in more than two months, showing the leader walking without a stick but with a pronounced limp. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korean state TV has aired footage of Kim Jong Un for the first time in more than two months, showing the leader walking without a stick but with a pronounced limp.

The video footage, aired late on Thursday by the North's Chosun Chungang TV, showed Mr Kim on stage at a meeting of military commanders in Pyongyang that took place on Monday and Tuesday.

In the footage shown on Thursday, Mr Kim was seen limping as he walked past a crowd of soldiers for a photo opportunity, but avoided showing his legs. The South Korean intelligence agency has said that Mr Kim had surgery on his left ankle due to complications from a cyst. The video footage was released a day after the North's top newspaper Rodong Sinmun carried still images of Kim walking without a stick at the same meeting.

Following an extended absence from the pubic eye, Mr Kim resurfaced with a walking stick in mid-October. His nearly six-week absence triggered a frenzy of speculation about his health and grip on power.

Before his prolonged absence, state television had shown Mr Kim walking with a limp.

Since assuming power after the death of his father Kim Jong Il in 2011, Mr Kim Jong Un has cut a very public figure, with state media showing him engaged in a seemingly endless series of trips to military units and factories across the country where he gives what is officially known as "field guidance".

His sudden disappearance, which began in early September, quickly became a source of rumour and speculation.

This went into overdrive after he missed two noteworthy political events he would normally have been expected to attend, with some reports even suggested he had been ousted in a coup.