SEOUL, April 22 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper Wednesday stressed the importance of "self-reliance," saying that independence from outside help is critical to securing national dignity and survival.
North Korea has ramped up calls for efforts to make the economy and the military self-reliant as it is bracing for a long fight against the coronavirus pandemic and global sanctions against its regime amid little progress in denuclearization negotiations with Washington.
"Self-reliance is the most reasonable path for the protection of our dignity," the Rodong Sinmun said. "When relations are being shaped in accordance of whether a country is strong or not and something is in its interest or not, it would be impossible to guarantee survival, let alone its dignity, if we don't have things of our own or willingness to stay strong by ourselves."
The paper added that it is a fact that the North lags behind other countries in some areas in a rare such acknowledgement but assured that it will not take long before the country would catch up with those countries armed with better human resources and other infrastructure.
North Korea's media outlets have emphasized the importance of self-reliance frequently since leader Kim Jong-un told a party meeting last December that he has no expectation of the U.S. lifting sanctions anytime soon and urged his people to make a "frontal breakthrough" to tackle challenges confronting his country.
North Korea claims to have no COVID-19 infection, but Pyongyang has taken drastic measures to prevent an outbreak, such as shutting down its border with China and toughening quarantine measures.
The North recently held a political bureau meeting of the ruling Workers' Party, saying it has become impossible to remove the danger of the coronavirus "in a short time" and calling for "strict national countermeasures to thoroughly check the infiltration of the virus."
Observers say that a prolonged border closure with China could weigh on its already moribund economy long crippled by global sanctions, as it depends heavily on the neighboring ally for trade.
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