By Koh Byung-joon
SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper said Monday that a rare congress of the ruling Workers' Party set for January will serve as a "milestone" in providing solutions to many problems confronting the country.
Leader Kim Jong-un told a plenary meeting of the Workers' Party last week that his five-year economic development plan failed to achieve its intended goals due to "severe" and "unexpected" challenges, and that he will unveil a new development scheme in a rare party congress in January.
He apparently referred to the impact of the crippling global sanctions on his regime, the fallout from Pyongyang's protracted struggle to stave off the coronavirus and damage caused by recent heavy rainfall.
"It is the party's intention to swiftly overcome and rectify shortcomings and in the process we will be able to raise our revolution to a higher level," the Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the ruling party, said in a commentary.
"The 8th Party Congress will serve as an important milestone in tackling grim challenges and difficulties standing in our march forward," the paper added.
In a separate article, the paper said that January's party congress will serve as a "driving force" for the country's revolution and development, urging all people to devote themselves to safeguarding the party and achieving all of its tasks.
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.
January's party congress will mark the first such meeting in about eight months. Experts say that North Korea could also unveil its new policy line on the United States during the meeting given that it is timed after the U.S.' presidential election in November.
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