04/15/2013 12:56 pm ET Updated Apr 15, 2013

Kim Jong Un Appears In Public For First Time In 2 Weeks To Celebrate Day Of The Sun

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared in public for the first time in two weeks Monday morning in a ceremony to honor the 101st birthday of Kim Il Sung, his grandfather and the country's founder, according to South Korean news outlet Hankyoreh.

Kim Jong Un appeared at midnight with top military officials at the Kumsusan Palace Of The Sun in Pyongyang, where the bodies of his grandfather and his father, Kim Jong Il, are embalmed, the paper said.

The last time Kim Jong Un appeared in public was about two weeks earlier at an April 1 meeting of the Supreme People's Assembly. However, South Korean news agency Yonhap News points out that it's not unusual for Kim Jong Un to be out of the public eye for two weeks at a time. (It's happened before, Hankyoreh notes.)

Kim Jong Un's visit to the mausoleum came as the country prepared to celebrate Kim Il Sung's birthday in an annual holiday known as The Day of the Sun, which the Associated Press reports was proceeding peacefully, with few signs of the warmongering that has dominated international news lately.

Last year North Korea held a massive military parade during the holiday, but there was no such parade Monday, Yonhap reported, citing South Korean military officials.

With tensions high, everything North Korea's Supreme Leader does is scrutinized for signs the communist nation might launch a missile at another country, as it has threatened to do.

United States Secretary of State John Kerry is nearing the end of a 10-day trip to Japan, South Korea and China where he addressed the North Korean threats extensively. In Tokyo on Monday, Kerry told reporters that the U.S. would be open to talks with North Korea if Pyongyang honored past agreements, such as reducing its nuclear program, according to multiple reports.

But recently North Korea has expressed unwillingness to talk, calling South Korea's invitation to dialogue a "crafty trick," according to the BBC. South Korea, meanwhile, said Monday that it considered North Korea able to launch a missile "at any time," Yonhap reported.


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