North Korea is rebuilding after a season of devastating storms and hurricanes that destroyed thousands of homes.
On Friday, state media reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited a village inundated by recent typhoons to watch recovery efforts accompanied by his sister in their first public appearance in nearly two months.
Kim praised the speedy reconstruction work in the southeastern Gimhwa Prefecture, during his visit with Kim Yoo Jong, the agency said. “This year has been an unprecedented difficulty,” he was quoted as saying in response to the storms that swept the country in recent months.
The younger Kim, who is considered the second de facto leader, is believed to be in her early 30s and is the only leader relative with a public role in politics. It rose to prominence in March with a series of speeches against South Korea.
North storms and summer floods hit North Korea hard, destroying thousands of homes and raising fears of exacerbating the country’s chronic food shortages.
While praising the recovery, Kim said he was “sorry” that the new homes being built in the area were of “monotonous” design. Kim Yoo Jong is seen standing in the background and walking with her brother and the other officials.
Kim’s comments were the latest official criticism in the tightly controlled country.
In recent weeks, state media reported that Pyongyang has discovered “flaws” in its efforts to fight COVID-19, and Kim offered a rare apology for the killing of a South Korean official in waters off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula.
On Friday, the ruling party newspaper “Rodong Sinmun” showed Kim’s tour, showing lines of houses with red roofs and beige and white walls.
Kim said that despite the importance of speed, he wished that “the artistic harmony with the surrounding environment and the diversity were appropriately combined,” the agency said.