Kim Jong-un was missing from homecoming parade of North Korean athletes from Asian Games
Kim Jong-un was missing from homecoming parade of North Korean athletes from Asian GamesGetty

The mystery of the missing dictator continues in North Korea after Kim Jong-un was nowhere to be seen as the national team returned from the Asian Games.

Kim was absent from a parade in Pyongyang to welcome home the North's athletes from other side of the 39th parallel, South Korea - the regime's bitter rivals.

Considering how much of a sports fan the portly "Dear Leader" is renowned to be - watching it rather than playing, presumably - the parade seemed like an event he would not want to miss.

Yet the 31-year-old hereditary ruler was not there to witness a six-mile long crowd of citizens cheer the team on its biggest success at the Games in nearly a quarter of a century.

The focus is on Secretary Kim amid speculation there has been a shift in power inside the regime, away from him.

The North's ladies football team won the gold medal with a 1-0 victory over Japan, as athletes brought home a total of 11 golds.

Kim's absence from the event made it more than a month since the last time he was seen in public and will stoke rumours about his health.

He was last seen limping heavily and has reportedly ballooned in weight due to a troubling addiction to emmental cheese, which he imports from Switzerland in enormous quantities and consumes in a bid to look like his grandfather - say reports. However, North Korea has denied these claims.