North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has attended a conference of low-ranking military officers, the North's news agency said Wednesday, in his first public appearance since the elections of the country's rubber-stamp parliament about two weeks ago.
Kim guided the fifth meeting of company leaders and political instructors of the Korean People's Army that took place in Pyongyang on Monday and Tuesday, the Korean Central News Agency said.
Attending the meeting was Kim's first public activity reported by the country's media since the nationwide elections for the 14th Supreme People's Assembly on March 10.
It raises speculation that the North might have wrapped up its internal discussions on how to proceed with its nuclear negotiations with Washington since the leader's second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump collapsed without a deal last month.
North Korea is widely expected to unveil its domestic and foreign policies during the first meeting of the newly elected deputies of the parliament on April 11 or through other political meetings ahead of it.
This week's conference was the second such event since Kim took power following his father's death in December 2011. The previous meeting of company commanders and political instructors was held in 2013.
"Expressing the belief that the meeting would serve as a significant occasion to provide a new landmark for strengthening companies by thoroughly embodying the Party's idea and policy of attaching importance to companies as required by the developing revolution, (Kim) declared the meeting open," it said.
Kim was also quoted as saying that while sitting with the members of the army, he felt as though he was meeting "all the beloved soldiers whom he always missed even during his visit to foreign countries," the KCNA said.
"(The event) seems to be aimed at bolstering the regime's unity or enhancing the military's loyalty. We will keep our eyes on related signs," South Korea's Unification Ministry Spokesman Baik Tae-hyun said during a regular press briefing. (Yonhap)