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Kim has not appeared in a purely political setting since late June. He did not attend last week's invitational basketball games with South Korea in Pyongyang. The leader reportedly was occupied with inspection tours in provincial areas. Kim even rebuffed a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his two-day visit to the North Korean capital last week. Once again, potato farms seemingly took greater priority.
During April's plenary meeting of the ruling party's central committee, Kim retired the "two-track" strategy of developing nuclear arms along with the economy, reasoning that the regime has successfully concluded the former. In its place, the national focus shifted solely to the economy.
Since last month's summit, Kim has been busy micromanaging the economy, handing down orders governing everything from Pyongyang's illumination to building new factories, according to experts.