Kim Jong-un Appears More Frequently in Public

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made 209 official public appearances last year, over one-third more than the previous year, the Unification Ministry said Tuesday.

Kim made 71 visits to business projects of one kind or another, including a new water park in Pyongyang and a ski resort that just opened in Kangwon Province. He went to military facilities 62 times, cultural events 48 times, political functions 24 times, plus four appearances the ministry failed to classify.

His visits to business ventures almost doubled compared to 2012. A Unification Ministry official said, "By visiting places related to the everyday lives of people, including pediatric and dental hospitals, as well as the homes of teachers, Kim is seeking to consolidate his image as a leader who cares for his people."

The official that accompanied Kim most frequently last year was military Poliburo chief Choe Ryong-hae with 153 trips. In 2012, Choe ranked second after eminence grise Jang Song-taek, who was executed last year after falling foul of the young leader.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 15, 2014 10:29 KST