July 11, 2018 13:06
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is still haring around the border region with China on a lengthy inspection tour that has seen him come down hard on mismanagement and alleged laziness of workers.
State media on Tuesday reported that Kim visited a construction site, a potato farm and a potato processing plant in Samjiyon, Ryanggang Province.
It was his first reported public appearance in eight days. The last time was when he inspected factories and military units in near Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province, also at the Chinese border.
During this whole time he failed to show up to major engagements in Pyongyang like the anniversary of his grandfather Kim Il-sung's death and a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, giving rise to feverish speculation.
He also missed basketball friendlies between South and North Korean players in Pyongyang on July 4-5 even though he is a big basketball fan and had proposed the matches.
But it seems either that energizing business in the border region amid a swift warming of ties with China was more urgent, or that he deliberately went to ground because he did not want to follow up on his denuclearization pledge to the U.S.
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