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NK’s Kim condemns economic policies at Politburo meeting

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during a politburo meeting on Sunday. (KCNA-Yonhap)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during a politburo meeting on Sunday. (KCNA-Yonhap)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un condemned the country’s economic agencies for failing to carry out policies on a “scientific basis,” in a Politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party that he chaired, the North’s state media said Monday.
 
The extended Politburo meeting held Sunday “harshly criticized economic guidance organs for failing to provide scientific guidance” and “failing to overcome subjectivism and formalism in their work,” the Korea Central News Agency reported.
 
“It stressed the need to put the operation and command for carrying out the Party’s economic policies on a scientific basis and display great dedication and responsibility,” the report said.
 
The report added that the participants discussed immediate economic tasks for this year and adopted “key decisions with unanimous approval,” without providing further details.
 
They also discussed plans for the upcoming eighth congress of the Workers’ Party, slated for January, which will be held for the first time in five years. In August, Kim said he will announce a new five-year economic plan at the congress, after making a rare admission of failure in achieving economic goals due to the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic, flooding and international sanctions against the regime.
 
“North Korea’s economy appears to face a triple whammy of hardship of border closure on COVID-19, international sanctions and natural disaster,” Unification Ministry spokesperson Yoh Sang-key said Monday.
 
He added that the regime’s latest emphasis on ideological education and tightening discipline appears to reflect the country’s “very tough” economic situation.
 
The National Intelligence Service told lawmakers last week that North Korea executed a high-profile money changer in Pyongyang in October, blaming that person for the country’s falling currency value. The spy agency also said the North’s Kim has shown “excessive anger” and taken “irrational measures” amid the coronavirus pandemic and economic difficulties.
 
By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)
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