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N. Korean newspaper calls for efforts to increase crop output

All News 10:31 February 05, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's main newspaper on Wednesday urged its people to step up efforts to increase crop output as the impoverished country continues to struggle with chronic food shortages.

The Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary that the fate of the country's "offensive for frontal breakthrough" against "hostile forces" depends on the achievements of its agricultural sector.

"The victory of the offensive is a solemn demand of our time ... to destroy the enemies' plot to isolate and suppress us with the power of self-reliance," the paper said.

The newspaper said North Korean farmers achieved an "unprecedented" crop output last year despite pressure from "enemies," bad weather and a disastrous typhoon.

South Korea's Rural Development Administration last year estimated the North's crop production to be 4.64 million tons, slightly up from 4.55 million tons a year earlier.

However, the Food and Agriculture Organization earlier said the North's crop output during its main harvest season last year was likely below average.

North Korea has been stepping up efforts to bolster its economy, with leader Kim Jong-un calling for self-reliance to achieve wealth and prosperity without outside help.

In a New Year's Day announcement, Kim said he has no expectation of the U.S. lifting sanctions anytime soon and ordered his people to make a "frontal breakthrough" to build a self-reliant economy.

The nuclear negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea have been stalled since Kim's second summit with President Donald Trump in Hanoi collapsed without a deal in February last year due to wide differences over the scope of Pyongyang's denuclearization measures and Washington's sanctions relief.

This undated photo, released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Sept. 9, 2019, shows farmers harvesting damaged rice at a paddy after Typhoon Lingling passed through the Korean Peninsula on Sept. 7. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

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