North Korea announces foreign minister as a politburo member

Seoul, Feb 12 (efe-epa).- North Korea’s foreign minister Ri Son-gwon has been appointed a member of the powerful politburo of the Workers Party, the country’s highest governing body, state media reported on Friday.

Ri was elected to the body during a plenary session of the North Korea’s only party, which lasted for four days until Thursday, state news agency KCNA reported.

Kim Song-nam, another senior party official and considered to be in charge of relations with China, was appointed alternate member of the politburo, and O Su-yong was elected director of the Department of Economic Affairs.

North Korea this week convened the plenary meeting of the Workers’ Party Central Committee to discuss the implementation of the first year’s tasks of the country’s new five-year plan and other targets set during the party’s eighth congress, held in January.

The country’s leader attended the plenary, in which he called for improving the productivity of key sectors such as iron and steel and chemical fertilizer as the Pyongyang regime seeks to implement its new plan to overcome an economic downturn.

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 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. EFE-EPA


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