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N.K. paper carries 'self-criticism' by officials after Kim acknowledges policy failure

All News 10:04 August 21, 2020

By Koh Byung-joon

SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper on Friday carried contribution pieces by senior officials holding themselves responsible for the lack of progress in economic development, after leader Kim Jong-un acknowledged "shortcomings" in his economic policy.

With unusual candor, Kim told a plenary meeting of the Workers' Party on Wednesday that his five-year economic development plan failed to achieve its intended goals due to "severe" and "unexpected" challenges. Kim said that he will unveil a new development plan in a rare party congress to be held in January.

The Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the ruling party, carried a contribution piece on its front page written by Minister of Chemical Industry Jang Gil-ryong, who said that it is none other than his ministry that fell short of expectations.

"The reason that the chemical industry, one of the pillars in economic development, has not played its intended role in the process of implementation of the five-year economic development plan is because of the lack of strategic perspective and planning of our ministry and workers," he said.

Kim Kwang-nam, a senior official of the Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex, a major steelmaker in the North, also said in a contribution that his company should be held accountable.

"As a matter of fact, Kim Chaek Iron and Steel, as the eldest brother of the steelmaking industry, should take a large portion of responsibility as the reason why our national economy has not progressed for the past few years," he said.

North Korea had pushed to achieve major policy objectives of the five-year economic development before the 75th founding anniversary of the Workers' Party in October.

Observers, however, had suspected that the North would not be able to do so due to crippling global sanctions on its regime.

Things have been made worse as North Korea has kept tight border closure and quarantine measures in place since early this year to fight the coronavirus pandemic and has to focus on repairing damage caused by recent heavy downpours.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) presides over the 6th plenary meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party in Pyongyang on Aug. 19, 2020, in this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) presides over the 6th plenary meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party in Pyongyang on Aug. 19, 2020, in this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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