N. Korea replaces heads of key farmer and labor groups amid economic drive
SEOUL, Feb. 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has replaced heads of key groups of farmers and laborers, state media said Friday, in an apparent move to rev up its recently unveiled economic development drive.
During the eighth congress of the ruling Workers' Party last month, the North put forth a new five-year economic development plan centering on self-reliance in the face of the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and global sanctions.
The Union of Agricultural Workers of Korea (UAWK) on Thursday held a plenary meeting to discuss the implementation of the decisions made at the party congress, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
"Before the discussion on the agenda items, the plenary meeting recalled Kim Chang-yop in consideration of his age and elected Han Jong-hyok as chairman of the UAWK Central Committee," the KCNA said.
The UAWK stressed the need for union organizations to drive up agricultural production for the new economic plan and to "bring about a radical turn in seed selection, do farming in a scientific way, increase the yield in the low-yielding fields and cultivate new land."
The General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea (GFTUK), another major association of laborers, also held a meeting and replaced its representative Ju Yong-gil "in consideration of his age."
The North's rare move to attribute its personnel shift to old age appears intended to tighten internal unity and bring fresh impetus to the new five-year economic plan amid multiple challenges, including global sanctions and the nationwide antivirus campaign.
The two organizations said they have decided to convene their next congresses, though they did not specify when each congress will take place.
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