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(2nd LD) N.K. leader oversees politburo meeting to launch 80-day campaign for economic development

All News 17:32 October 06, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more info in last 2 paras, photos)
By Koh Byung-joon

SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a politburo meeting of the ruling Workers' Party and launched an "80-day campaign" until year's end to make a last-ditch push to achieve the country's economic and other objectives, state media reported Tuesday.

In August, Kim acknowledged that his five-year economic development plan ending this year failed to achieve intended goals in the face of unexpected internal and external challenges, and pledged to unveil a new scheme at a rare party congress in January.

"The meeting discussed, as its first agenda item, the issue of successfully greeting the Eighth Congress of the Party by waging a dynamic 80-Day Campaign of the entire Party, the whole country and all the people," the Korean Central News Agency said.

"The remaining days till the Eighth Congress of the Party is the period of year-end struggle and also the last phase of carrying out the five-year strategy for national economic development put forth at the Seventh Congress of the Party, so that the entire Party and the whole country should wage another all-out campaign," it said.

N.Korea to launch '80-day campaign' for crucial anniversary

The decision was made to "glorify the 75th founding anniversary of the Party" on Saturday as a great festival of victory and progress, "proudly conclude this year's struggle in elated spirit and greet the Eighth Congress of the Party with high political enthusiasm and labor feats," it added.

The current five-year economic development plan was adopted when the North held a previous party congress in May 2016. The North was supposed to complete major goals of the plan ahead of this week's party founding anniversary, but it appears to be impossible amid international sanctions, the coronavirus pandemic and other woes.

During the meeting, the title of the marshal of the Korean People's Army (KPA) was granted to Ri Pyong-chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, who has overseen the North's nuclear and missile development, and Pak Jong-chon, chief of the General Staff of the KPA.

Ri, in particular, is known for his deep involvement in the country's nuclear and missile development. He was appointed as a new member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau, the party's top policymaking body, in August.

Leader Kim congratulated them and called for their efforts "to live up to the deep trust and expectations of the Party and the people with great successes in their jobs," according to the KCNA.

Ri, who was considered ranked No. 5 in the North's power hierarchy, appears to have climbed up to the No. 3 position, overtaking Pak Pong-ju, a vice chairman of the State Affairs Commission and a former premier, and current Premier Kim Tok-hun.

Photos released by the KCNA on Tuesday showed Ri sitting right next to leader Kim during the politburo meeting as was the case in previous politburo meetings held in August and September.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presides over a politburo meeting of the ruling Workers' Party on Oct. 5, 2020, in this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)
Ri Pyong-chol (in red circle), vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, sits next to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a meeting of the political bureau of the central committee of the party in Pyongyang on Oct. 5, 2020, in this photo captured from the Korean Central Television Broadcasting Station. It was decided at the meeting to wage an 80-day economic development campaign to mark the party's 75th founding anniversary and confer the title of marshal on Ri, who has led the country's nuclear and missile development. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)
These undated file photos of the Korean Central News Agency show Ri Pyong-chol (L), vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party, and Pak Jong-chon, chief of the North Korean Army's General Staff, who were conferred the title of marshal at a politburo meeting presided over by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang on Oct. 5, 2020. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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