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N. Korea launches rare committee to tackle economic challenges

North Korea 11:53 February 10, 2021

SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has recently launched a temporary committee to rev up its economic development drive, state media said Wednesday, as the communist country pushes ahead to achieve goals set forth at last month's rare party congress amid crippling sanctions and antivirus efforts.

On the second day of the plenary meeting of the party's eighth Central Committee on Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reported on domestic economic issues and other external matters, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

In the report, Kim stressed the issue of "improving the role of the non-permanent economic development committee and other important practical issues for consolidating the Cabinet-centered system, Cabinet-responsibility system," KCNA said.

He called on the Cabinet and state economic guidance organs to restore "the function peculiar to them as economic organizer and their controlling function to improve the guidance and management over the whole economy."

Kim also noted that the ruling party will support the "bold renovation in the economic work to the end," saying that the success or failure of this year's economy depends on the "capability and role of the state economic guidance organs."

North Korea has unofficially organized internal task forces ahead of nuclear talks with the U.S. or inter-Korean meetings in the past. Last year, state media reported that it also launched a "makeshift central public health committee" amid nationwide efforts to prevent the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

However, it is rare for the North to create a state committee focused solely on tackling economic challenges. The North appears to have launched the rare committee in an apparent move to improve its outdated economic system as the country pushes ahead to achieve economic goals set forth at last month's party congress.

During the eighth congress of the ruling Workers' Party last month, Kim unveiled the new five-year economic development plan focusing on self-reliance amid multiple challenges, including efforts to ward off the coronavirus and crippling sanctions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un clenches his fist during the second plenary meeting of the central committee of the Workers' Party in Pyongyang on Feb. 8, 2021, in this photo released by Korean Central News Agency. The meeting included discussion of details to put into practice a new five-year economic development plan set forth at the party's eighth congress the previous month. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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