N Korea’s Kim appears after 3 weeks in meeting with military leaders

Seoul, May 24 (efe-epa).- In his first public appearance in more than three weeks, North Korea’s leader chaired a meeting with military and political leaders in which, among other issues, new measures were adopted to further strengthen the country’s military deterrence, state-run news agency KCNA reported Sunday.

The agency does not indicate when the meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party Central Military Commission (CMC) took place but usually when KCNA reports such activities they have taken place the previous day.

The last time Kim Jong-un appeared in his country’s media was on May 2, after three weeks of absence, at an event held the day before to inaugurate a fertilizer plant, putting an end to multiple rumors of the North Korean dictator’s alleged serious health problems and even of his death.

The 36-year-old North Korean dictator has been absent from the public more frequently than ever this year.

Kim attended a concert on Jan.25 and disappeared for 21 days until Feb. 16.

He was again not seen for 19 days between Mar. 22 and April 10. On Apr. 11, he chaired a meeting of the political bureau of the Workers’ Party of Korea before disappearing again until May 2, when KCNA released video footage showing Kim inaugurating a fertilizer plant.

According to the information released on Sunday by KCNA, which is accompanied by a dozen photographs of Kim and those gathered with him, in the meeting were “reviewed and analyzed a series of drawbacks in the military and political activities of the overall armed forces.”

“Set forth at the meeting were new policies for further increasing the nuclear war deterrence of the country and putting the strategic armed forces on a high alert operation in line with the general requirements for the building and development of the armed forces of the country,” KCNA said.

Measures were also taken “for considerably increasing the firepower strike ability of the artillery pieces of the Korean People’s Army” according to KCNA, which added that a number of military officials were also promoted at the meeting.

The meeting coincides with a stalemate in negotiations between the United States and the Pyongyang regime to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump have held two formal summits and an informal meeting since the summer of 2018 focused on the future denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

However, all progress has remained stalled since Kim and Trump’s meeting on June 30 last year at the inter-Korean border, even though the two expressed willingness to move forward and resume their bilateral dialog.

In the absence of a lack of progress in dialog, Kim Jong-un had said at the start of the year that the country would resume nuclear tests and would soon deploy a new strategic weapon.

He had also announced that Pyongyang would try to ramp up pressure on Trump in the face of the US presidential elections in November.

Since then, North Korea has conducted multiple weapons tests. EFE-EPA


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