Kim calls for production boost to help Covid-hit economy
Seoul, Feb 9 (efe-epa).- North Korea’s leader has called for an improvement in the productivity of key sectors including iron and steel and chemical fertilizer as Pyongyang seeks to implement a new five-year plan to overcome a major economic downturn.
In a plenary meeting of the country’s only party on Monday, Kim Jong-un called for “the need to push forward with the production of iron and steel and chemical fertilizer by concentrating investment on the metal and chemical industries which were set as the main link in the chain of national economy,” state-run news agency KCNA reported Tuesday.
In his report to the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Kim also “indicated important goals to be achieved this year by key industrial fields including electric power and coal industries and by the fields of railway transport, construction and building materials, light industry and commerce, and practical ways to attain them,” KCNA added.
The plenary sessions of the party’s Central Committee are usually held at least once a year to discuss core policies and organizational issues.
This is the second to be held this year following one in January during the Workers’ Party congress.
During the congress, Kim had admitted the difficulties facing the country, hit last year by border closures on account of the Covid-19 pandemic and several typhoons, and announced a new five-year economic plan about which no specific data has been released.
North Korea closed its borders in January 2020 to prevent the spread of Covid-19, which has made entry of foreign capital and goods into the country difficult.
Thorough checks of products imported from China, which accounts for around 90 percent of North Korea’s imports, have reduced Chinese exports to the country by 99 percent from pre-pandemic levels, according to Beijing’s customs administration.
North Korea continues to maintain that it has not detected a single Covid-19 case within its borders.
Although many experts doubt North Korea’s claims of a total absence of infections in the country due to its porous border with China, there are indications that the virus has not got out of control in the world’s most closed-off country. EFE-EPA