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Kim Jong Un keeps out of public eye following summit announcements

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SEOUL, March 20 (UPI) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appears to have kept out of the public eye for about two weeks, indicating that he is occupied with preparations for upcoming summits with Seoul and Washington, Yonhap reported.

Pyongyang’s state-run media has not reported on any of Kim’s public activities since his meeting with South Korea’s presidential envoys on March 6.

After the meeting, the envoys announced that Kim had called for an inter-Korean summit in late April, as well as a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

South Korean observers believe the North Korean leader has withdrawn from public events to focus on summit preparations.

“It looks like he is concentrating on preparations for summits with South Korea and the United States, weighing Washington’s intentions, Seoul’s position as well as the general atmosphere among other things,” said Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University.

While Kim reportedly “gave his word” on his commitment to denuclearization, it is yet unclear what kind of terms he may demand in return or how the regime would proceed with dismantling its nukes.

On Monday, South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and European Union diplomats agreed to continue close cooperation to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue, JTBC reported.

During a meeting in Brussels, Kang briefed EU countries on recent developments on the Korean Peninsula, emphasizing Seoul’s two-track North Korea policy of enforcing sanctions and pressure while seeking dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini agreed with the approach and reaffirmed the regional bloc’s commitment to help “open the political path for a peaceful, negotiated solution” of the issue.

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