(ATTN: RECASTS lead; ADDS more info from 7th para, photos)
By Yi Wonju
SEOUL, Oct. 15 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un once again visited a typhoon-hit region in the country's east and urged officials to redouble recovery efforts, state media said Thursday, in an apparent effort to rally public support and unity.
Kim visited the country's eastern area, including Sinpo City and Hongwon County in South Hamgyong Province to inspect recovery efforts and encourage division members, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
"He said that the division members and service personnel involved in the reconstruction campaign were always in his heart during the celebrations marking the founding anniversary of the glorious Party, and added that he missed them and he visited them to give encouragement to them," the KCNA said.
Kim also pointed out that he will deal strictly with cases of violation in the reconstruction efforts.
"According to a recent report, there occurred wicked and shameless violation of law of construction in which construction is done in a random way in a easy-going way," he said, adding that this issue will be strictly dealt with," it said.
North Korea's eastern province was one of the country's most damaged areas, hit by back-to-back typhoons in recent months.
Kim earlier visited the typhoon-hit mining town of Komdok in South Hamgyong Province and reviewed recovery efforts, state media said Wednesday.
Although state media did not indicate the exact date of his visit to the eastern regions, Kim appears to have stayed in South Hamgyong Province and visited the flood-hit villages for two straight days, given that his activities are usually reported the following day.
The trip came days after the autocratic leader teared up during an address at Saturday's massive military parade, apologizing and thanking North Koreans for their sacrifices in recovering from recent disasters and challenges.
The North is faced with multiple challenges, including its ongoing campaign against the coronavirus, devastation caused by recent typhoons and economic woes from global sanctions.
Last month, Kim held a meeting of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers' Party to discuss recovery efforts under way in the typhoon-affected regions and dispatched soldiers to help with recovery work there.
In a rare public letter, he also asked about 12,000 "elite divisions" consisting of party members in Pyongyang to be sent to provide support for the recovery campaign.
Kim also launched an "80-day campaign" last week to recover from flood damage and make as much progress as possible in the country's economic development project by year's end.