North Korea: Kim Jong Un criticizes the economic defeatism of senior officials

The official Korean Central News Agency said on Friday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un accused his country’s top officials of “defeatism,” and blamed them for the miserable state of the country’s economy.

At a conference of chief executives, Kim harshly criticized economic planners in various sectors, saying they had failed to implement the “ideas and policies” he announced in January at a ruling party conference, according to the Central News Agency.

The conference, the first of its kind in five years and the eighth in North Korean history, produced a new blueprint for the economy.

But it also revealed the scale of the financial hardship of this extremely isolated country. Kim has apologized several times for errors in economic planning and said the past five years have been “the worst.”

At the end of the four-day conference on Friday, Kim criticized his executives’ lack of “innovative perspective and clear tactics” in facing the situation.

He cited agriculture as an example, where its officials set production targets “without taking into account the current situation, where operating conditions are unfavorable and the state is unable to provide enough materials.”

Other sectors were criticized for their “ridiculously low” productivity quotas, with officials accused of inefficiency and “pretending to do their job”.

North Korea faces multiple international sanctions over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, which have made rapid progress under Mr. Kim.

His summit meeting with US President Donald Trump in February 2019 in Hanoi was a failure.

The nuclear talks have since stalled. North Korea displayed several new missiles at a military parade in October and last month, and Kim said he wanted to boost its nuclear arsenal.

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Pyongyang is also under mounting financial pressure, as the Coronavirus pandemic and floods last summer took a heavy toll on its already ailing economy.

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