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North Koreans urged to meet economic goals

A North Korean flag on a mast. (Reuters-Yonhap)
A North Korean flag on a mast. (Reuters-Yonhap)
North Koreans should make the best use of the remainder of the year to support the regime’s economic plan, the official newspaper Rodong Sinmun said Friday, as the North faces a growing economic crisis.

“Those who are falling behind what they are expected to do should come to their senses and respond to what our revolution demands: bold action,” the newspaper said, referring to the five-year initiative that national leader Kim Jong-un revealed in January to jump-start the economy.

At the January party congress, Kim laid out goals for each sector and admitted that he had failed “terribly” to deliver on earlier expectations. Nevertheless, Kim did not give up on the North’s Juche strategy, or the pursuit of growth without outside help.

The Rodong Sinmun said the regime had seen some progress in science and technology, without elaborating on details. Pyongyang carried out multiple weapons tests this year, most recently a submarine-launched ballistic missile in October. Preparations for a second test were reported.

Meanwhile, the Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs in the South, said it was monitoring closely for signs of unusual activity in North Korea. Kim is seen as trying to cement his grip on power as he tries to put in place a more authoritarian rule.

Kim is now called “suryong,” a title North Korea’s constitution reserves for Kim Il-sung -- Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, who founded the regime -- and Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un’s father. State media have already floated the idea of “Kim Jong-un-ism,” meaning what he does dictates the regime’s course without being second-guessed.

“The new title could mean that party leaders and organs are seeking to reaffirm their loyalty to Kim,” the Unification Ministry said, adding there was nothing unusual about Kim making no public appearances for about a month because he had done the same thing many times in the past.

In December, it will be 10 years since Kim Jong-un came to power.

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