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(LEAD) N.K. leader vows to overcome difficulties as he concludes key party meeting: state media

All News 16:31 June 19, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with unification ministry's comments in last 4 paras)

SEOUL, June 19 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowed to break through difficulties facing the country as he concluded a key Workers' Party meeting after discussing ways to deal with food shortages and relations with the United States, state media said Saturday.

Throughout the four-day plenary meeting of the party's Central Committee, the third of its kind this year, Kim discussed how to cope with economic challenges, including food shortages and anti-pandemic efforts.

He also discussed ways to deal with the U.S. administration of President Joe Biden, saying the North should be ready for both dialogue and confrontation, and more importantly, confrontation amid the "fast-changing" situation on the Korean Peninsula.

As he wrapped up the meeting on Friday, Kim "solemnly swore on behalf of the WPK Central Committee that the Party will surely break through head-on the difficulties lying in the way of the revolution" and remain loyal to the revolutionary idea to the end regardless of the "severer difficulties it may be confronted with in the future," the Korean Central News Agency said.

The meeting also dealt with organizational issues, including the election of members to the political bureau.

Thae Hyong-chol, vice president of the Presidium, was elected as member of the political bureau.

The North appears not to have discussed who will fill in the new "first secretary" post, a No. 2 position created after the North revised its rules at a rare congress in January.

South Korea's Ministry of Unification said it expects Pyongyang to come up with follow-up measures to achieve the domestic and foreign policy aims established at the meeting.

The ministry, which handles North Korean affairs, said the North sent a "more restrained and flexible message" than in the past in stressing the need to stably manage the political situation on the peninsula.

"In particular, in the context of South Korea and the United States' continued emphasis on the need to swiftly resume dialogue, we take note that Chairman Kim Jong-un personally said (the North) should be ready for dialogue also," the ministry said in an analysis sent to reporters.

South Korea will closely watch the North's future actions toward the South and the U.S. and actively work for peace on the peninsula, humanitarian cooperation between South and North, and the resumption of dialogue between the two Koreas and between the North and the U.S., it added.

Jo Yong-won (L), secretary for organizational affairs of the central committee of North Korea's Workers' Party, speaks to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the third plenary meeting of the party's eighth Central Committee on the third day of its schedule in Pyongyang on June 17, 2021, in this photo captured from the North's Korean Central Television the next day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)


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