North Korea’s Kim admits failures in address to ruling party


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday admitted in an address to the country’s first ruling party congress in five years that he has failed in his efforts to rebuild the nation’s economy, which has been hit especially hard recently by the coronavirus pandemic and continued international sanctions. 

According to The New York Times, the country’s Korean Central News Agency published text of the speech Wednesday, revealing that Kim told members of the congress that his “five-year economic development plan has fallen greatly short of its goals in almost all sectors.”

“We should further promote and expand the victories and successes we have gained at the cost of sweat and blood, and prevent the painful lessons from being repeated,” he added, as reported by The Associated Press

The meeting of the Workers’ Party Congress is expected to last a few days and work on adopting a new five-year economic plan, as well as party leadership changes. 

The congress last met in 2016, the first such meeting in 36 years, where Kim adopted his previous five-year economic plan with a goal of creating a “great socialist country” by 2020, according to the Times. 

However, this has been limited by what Kim has called “multiple crises” facing one of the poorest countries in Asia. 

U.S.-led sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear program have continued to cripple the national economy. While President Trump signaled a potential change in relations by organizing three summits with Kim starting in 2018, these efforts failed to reach any substantial change. 

Additionally, a series of natural disasters, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, have further destabilized the country. 

North Korea has continued to argue that it has not had a single COVID-19 case, although this has been disputed by several outside experts.

In November, South Korean lawmakers who were briefed by members of the country’s intelligence agency said that the North Korean government had ordered the execution of at least two people, locked down the capital of Pyongyang and implemented other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Wall Street Journal reported in early December that North Korean actors attempted to hack into at least six pharmaceutical companies developing COVID-19 treatments in the U.S., the United Kingdom and South Korea. 

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that North Korean officials had submitted an application to receive the coronavirus vaccine from Gavi, an alliance for aiding vaccine distribution in low-income nations. 

Last week, Kim in his first New Year’s Day cards to citizens thanked them for “having invariably trusted and supported our party even in the difficult times,” adding that he “will work hard to bring earlier the new era in which the ideals and desires of our people will come true.”

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump Kim Jong Un Kim Jong Un Donald Trump New York Times North Korea Nuclear program of North Korea Nuclear weapon The Associated Press

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