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(LEAD) N. Korean leader tours construction sites, chides officials for incompetence

All News 09:15 July 17, 2018

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; ADDS more info in paras 8-10)

SEOUL, July 17 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un harshly criticized officials for their incompetence during a recent inspection of the construction sites in the country's northeastern region, its state media reported Tuesday.

During the "field guidance" at a hydroelectric power station under construction in Orangchon of North Hamgyong Province, Kim lashed out at workers and officials for failing to complete the construction for nearly 20 years, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

Kim ascribed the procrastination to the officials not coming out to inspect the site for years and failing to draw up appropriate economic strategies to speed up the construction project that started 17 years ago.

"The Cabinet has only specified the project as a target project that should be accelerated with concentration of efforts in reports of its series of joint meetings or on the list of its stereotyped work plan but never taken any practical and blitz measure for economic and organizational work," Kim was quoted as saying in English.

"Worse still, the officials who are responsible for the national economy make their appearances in every inaugural ceremony of power stations though they never inspected the power stations and dams when they were under construction," he added.

Kim said that he is "speechless" to see the actual situation with his own eyes.

Saying that the dam construction would not be done in decades if it remains in the hands of the cabinet, Kim put the project under the direction of the party central committee and ordered its completion by Oct. 10, the KCNA said.

The KCNA said that the construction of the 134,000 kilowatt power station was instructed by late founder Kim Il-sung in 1981. Its construction has been about 70 percent completed.

Kim was accompanied by senior members of the ruling party central committee, including Hwang Pyong-so, Jo Yong-won, O Il-jong and Kim Yong-su.

The KCNA reported that Kim also inspected the construction sites of a resort and a hotel in North Hamgyong Province, in which he chastised workers for their "sloppy" work and "foot-dragging."

Kim's on-site criticism came weeks after the North's media reported earlier this month that the leader strongly reprimanded people for not working hard enough during his trip to textile factories in a northwestern border town.


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