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NK vows to overcome hurdles at congress next year

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (KCNA-Yonhap)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (KCNA-Yonhap)

North Korea said Monday that it will move to correct its “deficiencies” at a congress scheduled for January, referring to a ruling Workers’ Party plenary meeting a week earlier where leader Kim Jong-un vowed to set a five-year economic plan because “unforeseen hurdles” had hampered economic growth.

The state newspaper said in a commentary that the ruling party aims to use the congress to meet challenges here and abroad and to advance the country’s “revolution,” in reference to Pyongyang’s ongoing efforts to build a “self-reliant” economy without outside help.

The communist regime is struggling to deal with international sanctions and curb the coronavirus outbreak, while at the same time coping with floods caused by recent heavy rains.

The newspaper also called on people to rally behind the party, saying it would be a new year for a population grappling with chronic food shortages.

Kim’s abrupt decision to call the assembly in January was largely seen as reflecting preparations for new plans in response to a newly elected American president who would be sworn into office around that time.

The two countries remain at odds over denuclearization in exchange for sanctions relief.

The congress is usually called to mark a key event, with the previous one having taken place in 2016. There Kim Jong-un was named party chairman and unveiled his first five-year economic initiative. He also vowed not to use nuclear weapons unless his country was attacked with them first.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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