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(3rd LD) N.K. leader says 'crucial case' has happened due to lapses in anti-epidemic efforts

North Korea 10:39 June 30, 2021

(ATTN: RECASTS throughout with KCNA's English article)
By Koh Byung-joon

SEOUL, June 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said a "crucial case" has happened that could threaten the safety of his people and country in nationwide anti-epidemic efforts, state media reported Wednesday.

Kim made the remarks as he presided over an extended politburo meeting of the ruling Workers' Party on Tuesday, accusing senior officials of neglecting their duties in carrying out measures needed to fight the global pandemic, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

"Senior officials in charge of important state affairs neglected the implementation of the important decisions of the party on taking organizational, institutional, material, scientific and technological measures ... associated with the worldwide health crisis, and thus caused a crucial case of creating a great crisis in ensuring the security of the state and safety of the people and entailed grave consequences," Kim was quoted as saying by the KCNA.

"He analyzed in the strong terms that a major factor braking and hindering the implementation of the important tasks discussed and decided at the party congress and plenary meetings of the party is the lack of ability and irresponsibility of cadres," the KCNA added.

The KCNA did not elaborate on what the crucial case was.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks at a politburo meeting of the ruling Workers' Party, in this photo disclosed by the North's state media on June 30, 2021. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

North Korea has claimed to be coronavirus-free but has enforced tight border controls and other antivirus measures since the beginning to ward off an outbreak on its soil.

The North has recently called for "maximum vigilance" against the coronavirus amid concerns over the global spread of the highly contagious Delta variant and pandemic fatigue.

Pointing out chronic inability and irresponsibility among cadres, Kim called for "a more fierce partywide campaign" against "ideological faults and all sorts of negative elements" being exposed among them.

At Tuesday's meeting, "an organizational issue" was also discussed, including the election of new politburo members and a secretary of the party's Central Committee, the KCNA said, without providing details on those newly elected.

The politburo meeting came 11 days after North Korea held a four-day plenary meeting of the Workers' Party, the third of its kind this year.

This photo disclosed by the North's state media on June 30, 2021, shows officials and party members attending a politburo meeting presided over by leader Kim Jong-un a day earlier. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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