Monday, August 2, 2021

Kim Jong Un ‘solemnly swears’ to salvage North Korea’s economy | World News

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Kim Jong Un “solemnly swore” to pull North Korea out of deepening economic troubles at the four-day meeting of the ruling party ended, as he acknowledged food shortages and urged officials to prepare for both dialogue and confrontation with the US, state media KCNA reported on Saturday. Kim Jong Un said that the party “will surely break through head-on the difficulties lying in the way of the revolution,” the Korean Central News Agency reported.

Kim Jong Un presided over a four-day plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee, which kicked off on Tuesday. Before this, Kim Jong Un ordered his government to prepare for both dialogue and confrontation with the United States, which has been urging North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions and return to talks. Kim also called for measures to tackle the “tense” food situation, blaming the coronavirus pandemic and last year’s typhoons.

Also read | Kim Jong Un names new politburo members, reviews ‘party discipline’

KCNA released Kim’s comments just before Sung Kim, US President Joe Biden’s special representative for North Korea, arrived in South Korea on Saturday for talks over stalled nuclear diplomacy with the North. Sung Kim will meet with South Korean senior diplomats and participate in a trilateral meeting that includes Japanese nuclear envoy Takehiro Funakoshi on Monday. The US state department said his travel emphasises the importance of three-way cooperation in working toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Also read | North Korea’s Kim looks much thinner, causing health speculation

Kim Jong Un has also appointed new members of the Workers’ Party of Korea’s powerful politburo and “reinforced the discipline” within party ranks. Some members of the leadership expressed “remorse for failing to live up to the expectations,” after Kim pointed out “serious problems” with their lifestyle, KCNA said, without elaborating.

Also read | North Korea’s Kim Jong Un asks officials to strengthen military might: Report

The central committee’s politburo also elected Thae Hyong Chol, vice president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, as a new member, and U Sang Chol, an official at the party’s Central Auditing Commission, as an alternate member, KCNA said.

KCNA reported, without elaborating, that some members of the leadership expressed “remorse for failing to live up to the expectations,” after Kim pointed out “serious problems” with their lifestyle.

(With agency inputs)

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