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N. Korea's main paper calls for eradication of illegal economic activities

All News 09:27 April 08, 2020

SEOUL, April 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's main newspaper on Wednesday called for rooting out embezzlement and other illegal economic activities amid the country's efforts to prevent an outbreak of the coronavirus.

Pyongyang's state media outlets have emphasized the importance of self-reliance and "frontal breakthrough" frequently since leader Kim Jong-un said in December that he expects no easing in sanctions from the United States and called for a "frontal breakthrough" to tackle challenges.

"As the frontal breakthrough campaign moves forward more boldly, we should further strengthen efforts to establish law and order," the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, said in an editorial.

"Establishing law and order especially in the field of economic construction is crucial to achieving the party's economic policies," the paper said.

It also called on authorities in the prosecution and judicial courts to crack down on and punish "any illegal activities that hinder the party's policy lines or the implementation of them."

The article is seen as a warning towards North Korean officials and people to tighten their social and moral discipline amid concern the country's focus on preventing the outbreak of the coronavirus could further weaken its economy already faltering under international sanctions.

In late January, North Korea declared the launch of a national emergency system against the new coronavirus, calling such preventive efforts a "political matter" that could determine the fate of the country.

Since then, it has stepped up efforts to prevent an outbreak, shutting down its border with China, where the virus originated, and toughening quarantine procedures for foreigners.

Concerns are lingering, however, that North Korea could be vulnerable as it shares a long and porous border with China, and lacks key medical supplies and infrastructure to test and treat infected people.

This photo, released by the North's Korean Central News Agency on Jan. 22, 2020, shows one of the new propaganda posters highlighting the important tasks set forth at the fifth plenary meeting of the 7th Central Committee of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party early this year. This poster reads, "Self-reliance. Self-prosperity. Let's break through all hardships that hinder our progress." (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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