SEOUL, Oct. 19 (Korea Bizwire) – New government data has revealed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has made significantly fewer public appearances this year, while focusing on military activities.
According to data released by the Ministry of Unification on Wednesday, Kim had appeared in public on 75 occasions from the beginning of this year until Tuesday, down over 24 percent from last year’s figure of 99 times.
It was noticeable that Kim’s focus shifted towards military activities, as nearly half of the public events he was seen attending were related to the military, while public events related to the economy only amounted to 22.7 percent of the total.
“Between June 21 and September 20 this year, no public appearances were made regarding the economy, showing a heavy focus on military activities,” the Ministry of Unification said.
When broken down by year, Kim made 151 public appearances during his first year as leader in 2012. After the following year, when his number of public appearances soared to 212, the figure dropped gradually from 172 in 2014 to 133 last year.
While military activities accounted for 29 to 35 percent of all of Kim’s public appearances, the data for this year so far suggests Kim’s focus on military power has seen him favoring military events disproportionately, as nearly half of the public events he has attended so far are associated with the country’s armed forces.
In contrast, the number of public events concerning the economy attended by Kim this year was down to 22.7 percent of all of his public appearances, a significant drop from the figure of 37.6 percent last year.
It’s also worth noting that Kim’s public appearances related to the economy were on a gradual rise between 2012 and 2015, during which Kim was seen increasingly prioritizing economic events, which accounted for nearly 46 percent of all of his public appearances in 2015.
In the meantime, Kim’s public appearance at social and cultural events increased slightly from 5.2 percent last year to 10.7 percent.
The data also revealed some of the closest aides to Kim, including general Hwang Pyong-so, who also holds the rank of vice marshal in the Korean People’s Army, and has accompanied Kim on 31 occasions this year so far, as well as Jo Yong-won, a vice director of the ruling party’s central committee.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)