Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made the least number of public appearances in 2016 since coming to power five years ago, according to official data disclosed on Saturday.
The data published by South Korea`s unification ministry said Kim made 132 of his famous inspection trips that leaders of the North Korean regime normally make to factories, farms or military facilities and which are widely reported by state media, Yonhap News Agency reported.
This number contrasts with the 153 field visits Kim made last year.
The data showed that the number of public appearances made by Kim has been declining steadily since 2013, when he made 212 public appearances.
The hermetic nature of the North Korean regime, characterized by the personality cult of the Kim dynasty, has complicated the possibility of a comprehensive analysis of the going-ons in the country, especially regarding the top leadership of the regime.
Experts consulted by Yonhap attribute the decrease in appearances by the North Korean leader to greater attention from the international community due to the multiple weapons tests conducted by the regime this year, including two nuclear tests, which led to tougher sanctions on the country by the UN.
Other analysts say Kim reinforced his leadership this year by holding a congress of the Workers` Party of Korea, the first in 36 years, in May, reducing the need to make his presence felt in state media.