North Korea’s Kim makes rare public appearance to visit ‘socialist utopia’
- Kim Jong Un, 38, made a rare public appearance recently
- The North Korean dictator’s long-drawn disappearances from the public eye often sparks global speculation
- Kim visited a new city being constructed near the Chinese border and close to Mount Paektu
Kim Jong Un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, visited a city being built near the country’s border with China and Mount Paektu, a holy mountain Kim’s family claims descendance from, on Tuesday in what was his first public appearance in nearly a month.
The North Korean dictator, who has kept a low profile for the last several months, returned to the public eye to inspect the workings of the new city which houses apartments, ski resorts and commercial, cultural and medical facilities, according to state media, and has prompted officials to call it a ‘socialist utopia’.
Kim has been a regular visitor to this developing city since 2018 and often called it “epitome of modern civilization”. Tuesday’s trip was meant to inspect the third and final phase of construction. The city is expected to be completed by the end of this year after work got delayed several times due to international sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic.
The 37-year-old reclusive dictator’s rare public appearances are watched closely by the international community. A few months ago, there was speculation about Kim’s health and whether he was thinking of a successor.
Those speculations were however laid to rest by a report which came out of South Korea last month which stated that Kim had no health issues.
Quoting the Supreme Leader, North Korean state news agency KCNA said, “He (Kim Jong Un) said Samjiyon has turned into an example of a mountainous modern city under socialism and a standard of rural development thanks to the workers’ steadfast struggle despite the unfavourable northern environment.”
According to Kim Jong Un, the construction of this city would give the nation and its people much-needed experience in construction, design and technologies that would spur economic development and spread growth to other regions.
The city near the Chinese border is Pyongyang’s biggest push for a self-reliant economy that faces international sanctions over its nuclear and missile programmes.