Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un turned his attention to the North Korean economy in his first public visit of the year to Sunchon Phosphate Fertilizer Factory.
Pyongyang's state-controlled news agency KCNA reported Tuesday Kim visited the new fertilizer factory, which may be nearing completion, in South Pyongan Province.
The regime has previously condemned international sanctions and has claimed the state has overcome the embargoes through independent economic initiatives.
Kim is making his first known public appearance after Jan. 2, when he visited Pyongyang's Kumsusan Palace of the Sun. North Korea could be monitoring the United States following the U.S. drone attack that killed Iranian commander Qassim Suleimani.
On Tuesday, KCNA said Kim stressed "self-regeneration" of North Korean workers.
"I came to this factory to reiterate the importance of the Sunchon Phosphate Fertilizer Factory, one of the most significant targets of the Party among economic initiatives to be carried out in 2020," Kim said, according to state media.
Kim's outing to a production plant in North Korea comes at a time when the South has offered economic cooperation and assistance, which Pyongyang has turned down repeatedly in 2019.
South Korea's unification ministry said Tuesday the policy of inter-Korea cooperation remains unchanged, News 1 reported Tuesday.
"We will make realizable inter-Korea cooperation through relevant ministries," a ministry source said, following President Moon Jae-in's New Year's address in the morning.
Moon had said he is willing to provide support for an independent inter-Korea relationship during his speech Tuesday.
The South Korean president said cooperation at the border, sports exchange and the relinking of an inter-Korea railroad are some of the projects he is willing to pursue to promote peace on the peninsula.
According to News 1, South Korea has already sent invitations to North Korea's weightlifting and table tennis teams to take part in championships in South Korea in 2020.