Sat. Jan 16th, 2021

SEOUL, Oct. 27 (Yonhap) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s public activities have increased sharply since July, suggesting that he has better control in containing the coronavirus, a researcher at a state-run think tank said Tuesday.

Koh Jae-hong, a researcher at the Institute for National Security Strategy (INSS), said in a report that Kim’s face-to-face activities dropped sharply in the first half of the year and were limited to the Pyongyang area or meeting only a few specific officials.

But such face-to-face meetings have been on the rise after July, he said.

The expert pointed out that Kim presided over an enlarged meeting of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers’ Party in July and September and delivered a speech at a conference of war veterans to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Kim also delivered a speech in October as the North staged a massive military parade to mark the 75th founding anniversary of its ruling Workers’ Party and recently visited typhoon-hit regions.

“This change appears to reflect North Korea’s improved control over COVID-19 as a result of international assistance and others,” the expert said.

He added, however, that “the increase in face-to-face contact between Kim Jong-un and military officials does not necessarily mean that the North is free from the risk of coronavirus infection.”

By Bureau