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N.K. leader lays out 5-year vision to boost economy at party congress

All Headlines 11:27 May 08, 2016

SEOUL, May 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has laid out a five-year strategy for economic growth, stressing the need to improve the people's livelihood and ease an electric power shortage, the country's state media said Sunday.

The North's leader did not spell out detailed plans to prop up the country's moribund economy, but emphasized efforts to log sustainable economic growth in the face of tougher U.N. sanctions over its latest nuclear and missile tests.

"It is imperative to carry through the five-year strategy for the state economic development from 2016 to 2020," Kim was quoted as saying by the Rodong Sinmun, the North's main newspaper.

Kim's message came out on the second day of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) congress which opened its first party congress in more than three decades on Friday.

The leader stressed that the method to ease the shortage of electric power is a prerequisite for implementing the five-year economic plan, according to the newspaper.

"It is desirable to increase the portion of nuclear power generation while mainly focusing on the use of hydroelectric power," he said.

Since the North's young leader inherited power in late 2011, the North's economy has posted marginal growth with its marketplaces noticeably expanding.

The North Korean economy is estimated to have grown 1 percent in 2014, similar to a 1.1-percent on-year gain the previous year, according to South Korea's central bank. It posted economic growth for the fourth straight year in 2014 after contracting in 2009 and 2010.

Kim has defended his signature policy of developing nuclear weapons in tandem with boosting the country's moribund economy, commonly known as the "byeongjin" policy. Seoul and Washington have warned that the dual-track policy is a dead end.

Analysts said that if tougher international sanctions are put in place for a long time, the North's economy is not likely to recover due to a shortage of dollars and products.

The U.N. Security Council slapped its toughest sanctions to date on North Korea for its fourth nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch in February.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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