North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s leap back onto the world stage this week reportedly came after his second-longest absence from the limelight.
On Monday, the iron-fisted leader headed a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Military Commission — goading his military to perform “ever-victorious feats” and display “matchless military strength” to begin a new phase in development.
The commission also discussed changes to “fundamentally improve and strengthen” military affairs, and state media photos of the meeting showed a flag representing a possibly new department, dubbed the “missile general bureau.”
On Tuesday, Business Insider noted the jump back into the public eye came after a 36-day absence — and without any explanation.
During that time, questions arose about his health, Insider reported, noting his longest-ever break from the limelight was in 2014, when he wasn’t seen in public for 40 days.
Before Monday’s saber-rattling session, Kim was last seen in another government meeting Jan.2, when it was announced No. 2 military official Pak Jong Chon had gotten the boot and been replaced, Reuters reported at the time.
On Wednesday, meanwhile, North Korea celebrates the 75th founding anniversary of the Korean People’s Army — which could involve a parade in Pyongyang, The Associated Press reported.
Tensions have been rising around the Korean Peninsula after Pyongyang condemned planned joint military drills between South Korea and the United States in the area, Insider noted.
A spokesperson for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said the expansion of the military drills threatens to turn the peninsula into a “huge war arsenal and a more critical war zone,” the AP reported earlier this month.
Diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang has been stalled since 2019, with the two sides remaining at odds over U.S.-led economic sanctions against the North and the North’s nuclear program.
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