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He's back ... but new mystery surrounds his walking stick

After vanishing from the public eye for nearly six weeks, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is back, ending rumours that he was gravely ill, deposed or worse.

Now, a new, albeit smaller, mystery has emerged: Why the cane?

Kim, who was last seen publicly at a September 3 concert, appeared in images released by state media today smiling broadly and supporting himself with a walking stick while touring the newly-built Wisong Scientists Residential District and another new institute in Pyongyang, part of his regular "field guidance" tours. The North didn't say when the visit happened.

Kim's appearance allowed the country's massive propaganda apparatus to continue doing what it does best - glorify the third generation of Kim family rule. And it will tamp down rampant rumours of a coup and serious health problems.

Archive footage from August showed him overweight and limping, Some experts thought he was suffering from gout or diabetes.