Thursday, October 6

North Korean leader says food and economy will be his priority in 2022


Updated

The impoverished country, which has nuclear weapons, maintains a rigid blockade due to the coronavirus

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.Ahn Young-joonAP
  • Asia Kim Jong-un turns 10 at the helm of a North Korea more armed and isolated than ever

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un put the economy at the center of his country’s priorities for 2022, in a speech to define the national agenda in which he did not cite the United States. Your message to the plenary of the Workers’ Party of Korea focused on food and development, according to the state press reported on Saturday.

The impoverished country, which possesses nuclear weapons, maintains a rigid blockade by the coronavirus It has hit your economy and left you struggling with food shortages.

In his closing speech to the plenary, Kim acknowledged on Friday the “severe situation” of 2021 in defining plans for the coming year, the state news agency KCNA reported.

He described the challenges of 2022 as “a great life and death struggle” and set the “important task of making radical progress in solving the problem of food, clothing and housing for the people,” according to KCNA.

The pandemic and the border closure caused in 2020 North’s biggest economic contraction in two decades, according to the South Korean central bank.

Faced with the prospect of a food crisis, a UN human rights specialist warned in October that the country’s most vulnerable were “at risk of famine”.

Kim, who came to power just over a decade after the death of his father Kim Jong Il, indicated at the party meeting that tackling the pandemic is a priority next year.

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“Emergency work for epidemic prevention must be a priority of state work”, expressed Kim, quoted by KCNA. Analysts pointed out that the impact of covid-19 is the reason for the focus on the economy.

“The pandemic continues to put pressure on North Korea’s diplomacy, decimating its economy and making border control a security priority,” AFP said. Leif-Eric Easley, professor at Ewha Womans University in Sel.

Survival mode

The speech did not directly quote the United States or South Korea, but did mention that Pyongyang will continue to strengthen its military capabilities given “the increasingly military environment. unstable of the Korean peninsula “ and the changing international situation.

This includes ensuring the loyalty and obedience of the military, upgrading the militias and “the production of powerful equipment commensurate with modern wars”Kim said according to KCNA.

The agency’s dispatch did not cite details of what this military strengthening would entail. “Kim may be aware that it is perhaps not a good idea to reveal complex military development plans as people suffer from food shortages and harsh conditions outside Pyongyang,” tweeted Chad O’Carroll from the specialized site NK News.

“North Korea will be more or less in survival mode in 2022 and it doesn’t know what to do about its foreign policy right now,” he added.

Pyongyang faces numerous international sanctions for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which have advanced rapidly under Kim.

The economic deterioration during the pandemic has not affected military programs and rather has continued arms development, according to an October UN report.

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Pyongyang has walked away from talks about its nuclear program since the 2019 dialogue between Kim and the then US president failed. Donald Trump.

Under incumbent President Joe Biden, the United States has expressed its willingness to meet with North Korean representatives while insisting on the denuclearization of the North Korean regime.

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