Feb. 13 (UPI) -- North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly's standing committee adopted a new law related to the breeding of domestic animals for their leather, according to state media on Thursday.
Korean Workers' Party paper Rodong Sinmun reported the "Domesticated Animal Leather Purchase Law" was passed in order to "firmly establish" purchasing standards related to the leather industry. The paper also said the law would "improve the lives of the people" by "guaranteeing" their economic demands are met.
The law includes plans to enforce "purchasing obligations," the creation of leather purchasing centers and covers the issuance of "leather purchase certificates," according to the Rodong.
North Korea has asked ordinary citizens to donate dog leather and rabbit skins ahead of major anniversaries in past years.
In December and January, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was seen in state media wearing a black leather trench coat, triggering speculation regarding Kim's wardrobe choices.
Kim has been absent from the public for 20 consecutive days following the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in China.
The North Korean leader was last seen on Jan. 25, at the Samjiyon theater with first lady Ri Sol Ju for a celebratory performance to mark the Lunar New Year, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
Kim's brief disappearance from public life comes after he called on his country to make a "frontal breakthrough with the might of self-reliance." Before the outbreak, Kim also vowed to unveil a "new strategic weapon," heightening security concerns in the region.
South Korea's unification ministry said Thursday North Korean official Ri Son Gwon's new appointment as foreign minister has created a vacancy that has yet to be filled, according to News 1. Ri was the chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, the North Korean counterpart to the South's unification minister.
Ri stirred outrage in South Korea in 2018, when reports revealed the North Korean politician used offensive language while addressing South Korean business executives. Seoul did not deny the incident at the time.