Pyongyang further pushes all-out economic development


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North Korea convened the first session of its 14th Supreme People’s Assembly on Thursday to address its policy priorities and unveil key figures in the second phase of Kim Jong-un’s rule.

Prior to this, the country held two party-level sessions this week that reaffirmed the regime’s commitment to ramping up its struggling economy and its people’s standard of living through self-reliance. 

North Korean officials participate in a plenary session of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party held in Pyongyang, Wednesday. (KCNA-Yonhap)

In a plenary session of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party held Wednesday, the North Korean leader sought to push an all-out campaign for economic development.

“Self-reliance and self-supporting national economy are the bedrock of the existence of our own style of socialism, the motive for its advancement and development and the eternal lifeline essential to the destiny of our revolution,” Kim was quoted as saying by North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency.

Reviewing the summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim, which ended without an agreement in February, Kim once again urged party officials to find economic solutions to withstand hostile forces.

“He underscored the need to more vigorously advance socialist construction by dint of self-supporting national economy … so as to deal a telling blow to the hostile forces who go with bloodshot eyes miscalculating that sanctions can bring the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to its knees,” the KCNA said.

Analysists say the emphasis on self-reliance is an attempt to show the US that the North is capable of finding a way to overcome poverty without support or sanctions relief.

The communist state, however, did not make direct hostile remarks about Washington.

Trump has repeatedly said North Korea could become an economic powerhouse if it completely denuclearizes. According to the KCNA report, updates on its nuclear weapons program were not addressed in this week’s meetings, which included a politburo session Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Choe Son-hui, the country’s vice foreign minister, was named a key member of the ruling party during the plenary session Wednesday, despite the fact that the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi, in which she played a leading role, ended with no joint agreement.

Kim Yong-chol, the top negotiator in talks with the US, also maintained his position, as he was seen among top officials attending Tuesday’s meeting.

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com)


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