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(LEAD) Soldiers, civilians stage joint rallies in N. Korea in support of party decisions

North Korea 19:23 January 20, 2021

(ATTN: REPLACES photo)

SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- Soldiers and civilians staged joint rallies across North Korea, calling for nationwide cooperation to carry out new policies and decisions made during a recent rare party congress, state media reported Wednesday.

North Korea held the eighth congress of the ruling Workers' Party that ended last week, unveiling a new five-year economic development plan focusing on self-reliance in the face of the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and global sanctions on its regime.

"Joint rallies of soldiers and civilians were held on Tuesday in North Pyongan, North Hwanghae, Jagang and
South Hamkyong provinces to perfectly realize the decisions made during the eighth party congress," the Korean Central News Agency said.

This photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency on Jan. 20, 2021, shows a joint army-civilian rally held the previous day. It reported the events were held in four provinces to show determination to thoroughly implement the decisions made at the recent 8th Congress of the ruling Workers' Party. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

The participants, including heads of the ruling party's provincial committees, expressed their unwavering support for the decisions by the congress and had discussions on how to attain the objectives set forth during the gathering, the KCNA added.

They, in particular, pledged to carry out the five-year economic development scheme that leader Kim Jong-un unveiled during the party congress while admitting to shortcomings of his previous development plan.

North Korea's economy has faced multiple challenges, including the border closure due to the global pandemic and biting global sanctions. It was also hit hard by back-to-back summertime typhoons last year.

Despite the announcement of the five-year development plan with great fanfare, the North decided during a subsequent parliamentary meeting to increase its budget for economic projects this year by a mere 0.6 percent, which experts see as indicative of the predicament confronting the country.

This photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency on Jan. 20, 2021, shows a joint army-civilian rally held the previous day. It reported the events were held in four provinces to show determination to thoroughly implement the decisions made at the recent 8th Congress of the ruling Workers' Party. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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