Pyongyang to unveil new 5-year economic plan at party congress

Seoul, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- The leader of North Korea has announced that the regime will unveil a new five-year plan for the economy at a congress of the ruling party that has been convened for January 2021, state news agency KCNA reported Thursday.

Kim Jong-un made the announcement on Wednesday during the plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party.

During the meeting, “the experience and lessons” from the current five-year plan adopted after the last party congress in May 2016 were analyzed and reviewed and the decision to convene another congress was approved.

The eighth congress of the Workers’ Party will seek to “to set forth a correct line of struggle and strategic and tactical policies on the basis of the new requirements of our developing revolution and the prevailing situation,” according to KCNA.

In a rare admission, the KCNA reported that the “economy was not improved in the face of the sustaining severe internal and external situations and unexpected manifold challenges, thereby planned attainment of the goals for improving the national economy has been seriously delayed and the people’s living standard not been improved remarkably.”

In addition to a reference to international sanctions, the comment seems to be an acknowledgment of the difficulties the country has been facing due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has greatly reduced its economic exchanges with the outside world, and recent floods caused by an unusually long monsoon this year.

With China alone, North Korea’s main trading partner, trade fell by 67 percent to $412 million in the first half of 2020 owing to pandemic-related border closures, according to the estimates of the Korea International Trade Association released on Thursday.

Experts also pointed out the importance of the second congress under Kim’s leadership being convened in January, coinciding with the inauguration of the United States president after the November elections, possibly to establish strategic lines, depending on who wins those elections.

The denuclearization dialog between North Korea and the US has been at a standstill since the failed Hanoi summit in 2019, when Washington refused to lift sanctions, deeming the North Korean disarmament offer insufficient. EFE-EPA


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