Dec. 28 (UPI) — Kim Jong Un might forgo a New Yr Tackle after a yr marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and diminished army exercise.

Kim, who has made comparatively few public appearances in 2020, is anticipated to make a speech at Pyongyang’s Eighth Occasion Congress in January. A New Yr Tackle might be redundant, or might focus much less on coverage, South Korean information company Yonhap reported Monday.

In December 2019, Kim delivered a New Yr’s Eve speech warning his nation might unveil a “new strategic weapon,” however the pandemic this yr has compelled the North to concentrate on anti-epidemic measures. Restoration from floods and pure catastrophe additionally occupied the regime.

Kim has made televised speeches prior to now, however in response to Yonhap, the North Korean chief might choose to ship his message via state media and newspapers, or make his deliberate statements on the Congress. A New Yr’s speech is much less doubtless for 2021, the report mentioned.

The Occasion Congress, final held in 2016, is the place Kim is anticipated to disclose a nationwide five-year plan, deal with relations with america and South Korea, and description insurance policies for financial growth.

The timing of the occasion means a lot of Kim’s speech on the Congress might overlap with a possible New Yr Tackle, mentioned Kim Yong-hyun, a South Korean analyst at Dongguk College.

Kim has solely skipped delivering a televised New Yr Tackle as soon as, in 2012, instantly after the demise of father Kim Jong Il in December 2011.

The North Korean chief appeared in public 53 instances in 2020, the bottom on report, in response to new South Korean analysis.

Voice of America’s Korean service reported Monday that Kim has stayed out of the limelight amid the pandemic, citing new information from the Sejong Institute.

Kim’s military-related actions had been down this yr, however nonetheless greater than in 2018, when he met with U.S. President Donald Trump at a historic summit in Singapore.