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NK leader 'harshly criticizes' economic agencies ahead of party congress

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) presides over a politburo meeting of the Workers' Party and discusses preparation for an upcoming rare party meeting on Monday. (KCNA-Yonhap)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) presides over a politburo meeting of the Workers' Party and discusses preparation for an upcoming rare party meeting on Monday. (KCNA-Yonhap)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has held a politburo meeting of the Workers' Party and "harshly criticized" economic agencies for failing to handle policy in a scientific manner, state media reported Monday.

The criticism appears aimed at tightening discipline of economic officials ahead of a rare party congress that Kim plans to hold in early January for the first time in four years to unveil a new five-year economic development plan.

During the extended politburo meeting held Sunday, Kim also "discussed and studied as key agenda items the issue of hearing a report on the preparations for the 8th Congress of the WPK and taking corresponding measures," the Korean Central News Agency said.

The meeting also "harshly criticized economic guidance organs for failing to provide scientific guidance" and "failing to overcome subjectivism and formalism in their work," the KCNA added, though it did not provide further details.

"It stressed the need to put the operation and command for carrying out the Party's economic policies on a scientific basis and display great dedication and responsibility," the KCNA said.

"The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the WPK discussed measures for important issues of carrying out immediate economic tasks for this year and adopted key decisions with unanimous approval," it added.

North Korea has been faced with a triple whammy of the fallout of summertime back-to-back typhoons, protracted border closure due to the global coronavirus pandemic and global sanctions on its economy.

South Korea's main intelligence agency said last week that North Korea executed a big shot in the country's money market in late October for a sudden exchange rate fluctuation amid speculation that the country's economic situations are getting worse.

South Korea's unification ministry said Pyongyang appears to emphasize the importance of strong discipline and unity in the face of "very tough" economic situations caused by the protracted border closure and other difficulties.

State media also reported earlier on a "serious crime" perpetuated by the party committee of Pyongyang University of Medicine, accusing related organizations for their "irresponsibility and extreme dereliction of duty."

In August, leader Kim said he will hold the party congress in early January where he plans to provide a new economic development scheme after admitting that his five-year development plan set to be completed this year has failed due to external and internal challenges. (Yonhap)

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