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N.Korea's Kim calls for thorough implementation of five-year economic plan

Sangmi Cha
·1 min read

By Sangmi Cha

SEOUL, Feb 9 (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Uncalled on his ruling Workers' Party to thoroughly implement thefive-year economic plan, posited at a rare congress last month,state news agency KCNA reported on Tuesday.

The announcement comes as Kim chaired a plenary meeting ofthe ruling party's central committee on Monday, following a rarecongress in January where he said his past five-year economicplan had failed.

Kim sharply criticized the "passive and self-protectingtendencies revealed by the state economic guidance organs in thecourse of setting this year's goals", KCNA said.

He stressed the need to provide the party members withpractical means of innovation that would help bring aboutrealistic change and substantial progress from the first year ofthe five-year plan, KCNA said.

Kim laid out detailed tasks for the party to attain theeconomic goals of increased iron and steel production andinvestment, as well as a push for better infrastructure,transportation, construction and commerce.

He had sought to accelerate economic growth and boostelectricity supply, but U.N. agencies reported chronic power andfood shortages, exacerbated by sanctions, the COVID-19 pandemicand severe floods.

"He evinced the determination and will of the Party CentralCommittee to take important measures to push forward theeconomic construction and provide the people with more stableand improved living conditions despite the persistent emergencyanti-epidemic situation," KCNA reported.

North Korea has not reported any confirmed cases of thecoronavirus, but it has imposed strict border closures, domestictravel restrictions and other measures to prevent an outbreak.

Kim made an appearance for the first time in a few weeksafter he was seen at a parade in Pyongyang that showed off whatappeared to be a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM)last month.

(Reporting by Sangmi Cha in SeoulEditing by Matthew Lewis)