Kim Jong Il was less active in the first quarter of 2011 than in the same period of last year, clocking just 35 public appearances in comparison with 41 in 2010.
The news was revealed by the Ministry of Unification this morning, following its periodic analysis of North Korean TV and radio news reports.
Kim’s most regular companion during his first quarter nationwide on-site inspections was the director of the Party’s Light Industry Department, sister Kim Kyung Hee, who was by his side 28 times.
Revealing the statistics, Ministry spokesperson Lee Jong Ju explained, “Although this is less than the 41 cases in the same period last year, when compared to the average number of National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong Il’s public appearances in the first quarter since 1999, 21, it can be seen as relatively active.”
The statistics reveal a total of 12 appearances by Kim at sites in the economic sphere, ten appearances at performances by various groups, and nine events involving the military.
“Appearances are focused on the economic sphere at the beginning of most years, which can be seen as an attempt to encourage more results,” Lee also pointed out. 40% of Kim’s total of 161 on-site appearances in 2010 were in the economic sphere, and were concentrated in the first quarter in 2009 as well as 2010.
“Particularly, the fact that Chairman Kim Jong Il is making a talking point out of self-reliant production and the CNC technology of industrial facilities at every industrial location he has visited this year is interesting,” Lee added, noting the oft-drawn link between modern technology and the succession propaganda of Kim Jong Eun.
Behind Kim Kyung Hee on the record of visits came Party Propaganda Secretary Kim Ki Nam (24), Central Military Commission Vice Chairman Kim Jong Eun and Party Administration Secretary Tae Jong Su (22 each), and National Defense Commission Vice Chairman Jang Sung Taek (20).
“North Korea can thus be said to be a place running a system with family at its core,” Lee concluded.