Seoul, Jan 6 (efe-epa).- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said Tuesday at the beginning of the country’s congress that strengthening its own capacities is the way to overcome economic “difficulties” facing the impoverished nation, state media reported.
In an unusual gesture for the regime, Kim said in a speech published by KCNA agency and the Rodong newspaper, that the results of the previous five-year economic plan have been “far below expectations,” and referred to “external and internal” obstacles in the country’s development.
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic seems to have hampered the country’s economy, and in summer announced it would convene this congress, in which the presentation of a new five-year plan is scheduled.
In the opening speech, delivered the day before, Kim also said that he will propose new “tactical and strategic policies” to achieve “national reunification and promote foreign relations”, although he did not specify more details in this regard.
The Workers’ Party congress is the most important political event in the country, but it usually focuses its messages almost exclusively on domestic politics.
In any case, the event is expected to shed clues about the North Korean weapons of mass destruction program and the regime’s plans in the diplomatic field, where it has been silent in recent months, not even mentioning Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential elections.
After three summits between Kim Jong-un and US president Donald Trump, denuclearization talks are at a standstill following the failure of the 2019 Hanoi summit, where Washington deemed Pyongyang’s disarmament offer insufficient and refused to lift sanctions.
For unknown reasons, the regime has kept the exact date of the start of the party’s eighth congress secret, beyond indicating that it would be “at the beginning of January.”
This is the second congress Kim Jong-un has chaired in less than five years.
The previous one was held in May 2016 and was the first to take place in North Korea in 36 years, since none were convened under the leadership of the current leader’s father, Kim Jong-il. EFE-EPA