SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited a shoe factory in what appears to be a move to emphasize the importance of improving people's lives with products that meet their needs, the state-run media reported Monday.
Kim Jong-un made a "field guidance" to the Wonsan Shoes Factory, located on the country's eastern coast, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
He called on workers to ensure the "world-level" quality of the shoes and perfect "automation" in its production process, as well as stressing the need to provide well-designed shoes that people like.
"A prerequisite to improving the quality of shoes lies in good designs, he repeatedly stressed, calling for deeply studying and actively introducing the world trend of the development of the shoes industry and shoe engineering and thus putting primary efforts on creating various new shoes designs favored by the people," the KCNA reported in English.
Kim was accompanied by Hwang Pyong-So, first vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party; Jo Yong-won, vice department director of the party's Central Committee; and other senior state officials.
His trip to the shoe factory came after his last tour there in December 2016 and also represented the fifth since he took office in late 2011.
The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, also extensively covered his latest tour of the plant, along with around 20 photos. It was not specified when he visited the plant.
North Korea's media recently have been stepping up calls for economic development and self-reliance amid a prolonged stalemate in its denuclearization talks with the United States following the historic summit between the two countries in June.
U.S. President Donald Trump earlier said that he expects a second summit with North Korean leader Kim to take place in January or February, adding that three possible venues are under consideration.
Five years after its full nuke armament claim, N. Korea's threat becomes real, further complicated
(News Focus) S. Korea grapples with calls for nuclear armament
Talk of 'normalizing' GSOMIA raises hope, skepticism around Seoul-Tokyo ties
S. Korea, U.S., Japan close ranks amid growing N.K. threats
N. Korea says month-old virus crisis under control, but skepticism lingers