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Speculation grows over Kim's disappearance from Pyongyang

Speculation grows over Kim
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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's attendance at this week's artillery fire exercise has added to speculation that he has been away from the capital Pyongyang for an extended period of time, a media report said.

Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's attendance at this week's artillery fire exercise has added to speculation that he has been away from the capital Pyongyang for an extended period of time, a media report said.

According to state media reports, Kim supervised the coastal artillery drill on Thursday, just days after he oversaw a similar exercise on March 9, the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported on Friday.

These drills followed two more artillery exercises held on March 2 and February 28 with the leader in attendance.

The North did not disclose the location of Thursday's exercise. But considering the three previous drills took place either in the eastern coastal cities of Wonsan or Sondok, the latest one was also believed to have happened along the east coast.

The short interval between these drills has raised speculation that Kim might be staying in east coast regions.

Some media reports have speculated that he could be away from the capital city due to coronavirus fears.

Kim's last public appearance unrelated to the military was when he presided over an expanded politburo meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party to discuss measures to ensure the coronavirus doesn't spread into the country, said the Yonhap News Agency report.

State media did not say when the meeting took place, but considering Kim's activity is usually reported a day after it happened, the meeting is believed to have been held on February 28, the same day when he attended an artillery exercise.

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