N.Korean Leader Shows Up for First Time in Two Weeks
15:49 15/04/2013 SEOUL, April 15 (RIA Novosti) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared in public for the first time in the past two weeks on Monday as he laid a wreath at his grandfather’s tomb in Pyongyang, the Yonhap news agency reported.
Pyongyang is celebrating the "Day of the Sun" in grand fashion on Monday, holding sporting events, art exhibitions and festivals to celebrate the birthday of the late founder of the DPRK, Kim Il Sung, who died in 1994, the agency said.
Kim has been absent from the public eye since April 1 when he presided over an annual parliamentary session. His absence from the public eye for extended periods is not unusual, but his latest disappearance comes at a time of tension in the region, with Pyongyang expected to launch an intermediate range ballistic missile at any time, the agency said on Sunday.
A North Korea specialist source told Yonhap that Kim's absence was part of the North's strategy of "psychological warfare that could grab attention from South Korea and the United States."
Tensions rose sharply on the Korean Peninsula in December after North Korea tested a long-range Taepodong 2 missile, and again in February when it carried out its third nuclear test. The UN responded with sanctions. The start of joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States last month further irritated the North, which threatened to carry out a nuclear attack on the US mainland, as well as on US forces in the region.
Meanwhile, Japan is not closing the door on new nuclear talks with North Korea if Pyongyang abandons its nuclear program, chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said on Monday, according to Kyodo news agency.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday North Korea would find “ready partners” in the United States if it began abandoning its nuclear program, pointing the way to a possible revival of the six-nation talks that have been frozen for four years.
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