SEOUL, Nov. 12 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has not made any public appearances for the past 23 days, but his absence is nothing unusual, a unification ministry official said Thursday.
Kim was last seen in public on Oct. 21 when he visited a cemetery in the North's South Pyongyang Province for fallen Chinese soldiers that participated in the 1950-53 Korean War.
"We do not attach any special meaning to it as he has gone absent from public view for more than 20 days several times based on past records," the official said.
Kim's absence from public sight for 20 days in April sparked worldwide speculation over his health and even the possibility of his death. That speculation was soon dismissed when he reappeared at a ceremony marking the completion of a fertilizer factory with a broad smile in early May.
Pyongyang has also kept mum on Joe Biden's victory in the U.S. presidential election.
"It is true that North Korea is keeping quiet ... We will check whether this marks the longest period North Korea has gone without releasing any response to a U.S. election," the official added.
N. Korea leaves room for inter-Korean ties but challenges lay ahead with 'conditions'
Kim's remarks warrant concerns, but also hope for dialogue: U.S. experts
Blinken likely to seek stronger alliance, multilateral approach toward N. Korea: experts
(News Focus) Moon to seek new teamwork with Biden over N. Korea, 'top-down' diplomacy in doubt
(News Focus) Biden to give S. Korea more 'room' in inter-Korean policy: experts