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Kim Jong-un attends mass gymnastics show despite antivirus campaign Updated: 2020-10-12 13:24:59 KST


Despite the regime's vigorous antivirus campaign, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Sunday attended a mass gymnastics show in Pyeongyang.
Entitled "Great Guidance," the event by tens of thousands of performers is seen as a major propaganda tool for the North with a sharp focus on praise for its leaders.
Kim, along with the regime's other top brass, wore no face mask, and similar grand shows will reportedly run through the end of October.
Watchers say the North is trying to solidify internal unity in the midst of the regime's struggles that include crushing international sanctions, the COVID-19 pandemic and severe typhoon damage.
On the same day, Kim held a photo session in front of the April 25 House of Culture with his top aides who attended Saturday's military parade that was also held to mark the party anniversary.
While there, Kim expressed the "expectation and belief that men of his revolutionary armed forces would remain boundlessly true to the regime."
Kim's outwardly emotional speech at the military parade is also being seen as an effort to maintain stability and strengthen unity among the North Korean people.
Unlike his previous speeches, Kim spent a large part of the address expressing gratitude and offering sympathy to the North Korean people over the regime's hardships and struggles.
Watchers noted that Kim's rare public display of tears and his sincere apology indicate the level of internal pressure he's under.
In August, Kim acknowledged that his five-year economic development plan had failed to achieve its intended goals.
He then pledged to come up with a new plan at a party congress set for January 2021.
Other watchers see Kim's emotional speech as an attempt to portray himself as a compassionate, global leader.
Kim offered consolation to the world battling against the COVID-19 pandemic, including South Korea, hinting that the two Koreas could "take each other's hand again" when the health crisis is over.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.
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