clearn.png
Friday June 18th, 2021 1:42AM

N. Korea's Kim opens congress with policy failures admission

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un opened his country's first ruling party congress in five years with an admission of policy failures and a vow to set new developmental goals, state media reported Wednesday.

The Workers’ Party Congress met in Pyongyang on Tuesday with thousands of delegates and observers in attendance, the Korean Central News Agency reported.

In his opening speech, KCNA cited Kim as saying the developmental goals set in a 2016 congress “were not met in almost all areas to a great extent.

“We should further promote and expand the successes and victories that we’ve achieved through our painstaking efforts but prevent us from having the painful lessons again,” he said.

While underlining the need to start the work to develop the economy under a new five-year plan, Kim reviewed the present status of North Korea's metal, chemical, electric and other key industries and set unspecified tasks for future development, according to KCNA.

This year’s congress comes as Kim faces the toughest challenge of nine-year rule because of what he has called “multiple crises” __ an economy hammered by pandemic-caused border closings, a series of natural disasters last summer and persistent U.S.-led sanctions. During Tuesday's speech, Kim described the difficulties as “the worst of all” and “unprecedented.”

He also is likely to see U.S. policy change under President-elect Joe Biden, who unlike President Donald Trump is expected to avoid top-down summit diplomacy with him and maintain punishing sanctions on the North, unless Kim takes significant steps toward denuclearization.

Officially, the congress is the party’s top decision-making body, though key day-to-day decisions are made by Kim and his inner circle. The congress would still provide Kim with a chance to solidity his authority by announcing new goals, naming loyal lieutenants to top posts and calling for a stronger unity behind his leadership.

It’s now known how long this year's congress would be held. It was held for four days in 2006, five days in 1980 and 12 days in 1970.

North Korea’s yearlong closure of its border with China, its biggest trading partner, to guard against COVID-19 is taking a heavy toll on its already-troubled economy. Bilateral trade volume plummeted by about 79% in the first 11 months of last year from the corresponding period in 2019, analyst Song Jaeguk at Seoul’s IBK Economic Research Institute. North Korea’s GDP was estimated to have contracted by 9.3% in 2020, he said.

Following the sharp drop in external trade, North Korea experienced a fourfold increase of imported foodstuffs like sugar and seasonings at markets while its factory operation rate dropped to its lowest level since Kim took power because of a shortage of raw materials, South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers in late November.

“I can’t think about any words to describe how difficult situation the North Koreans are going through now, rather than saying they’re suffering tremendously,” Song said. “If the coronavirus pandemic continues, they’ll suffer harder.”

Many experts say North Korea has no other option but to maintain its border closure as the pandemic continues worldwide, because its public health care system remain broken and a major outbreak could cause a dire consequence. Despite taking draconian anti-virus measures, North Korea has steadfastly argued it hasn’t found a single virus case on its soil, a claim widely disputed by foreign experts.

During his speech, Kim said the surest and fastest ways to resolve the ongoing difficulties is further bolstering internal strength. Observers predicted Kim would use the congress to call for building a stronger self-reliant economy and launching new productivity campaigns to squeeze his people for more labor. Last week, North Korea said it successfully completed a 80-day labor campaign.

During the congress, the North may issue conciliatory messages in consideration of ties with the incoming Biden administration while underscoring its traditional ties with China and Russia, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said in a report on the outlook for the congress.

Kim didn't mention the United States in his Tuesday speech.

Some experts say Kim won’t likely launch a major provocation anytime soon because that would further dim the prospect for early talks with the Biden government, which faces many urgent domestic issues. But they say Kim may resume high-profile missile tests when the U.S. and South Korea militaries conduct their annual springtime military drills.

Trump canceled or scaled back many regular military drills with South Korea to provide more space for diplomacy.

The Kim-Trump diplomacy has largely remained deadlocked for about two years over a U.S. refusal to provide North Korea with extensive sanctions relief in exchange of a partial surrender of its nuclear capability. In its late November intelligence briefing, South Korea’s spy agency said Kim had ordered diplomats abroad not to provoke the United States due to worries about Biden’s new approach on his government.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Ossoff stops by polling site before closing time
Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff stopped by a polling location in Atlanta just before polls closed to encourage voters to remain in line to cast a ballot
8:03PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Hawks' Rondo to miss at least 3 more games with knee injury
Atlanta Hawks guard Rajon Rondo will miss at least three more games because of right knee soreness
7:58PM ( 12 minutes ago )
The Latest: GOP initially failed to credential poll watchers
A Georgia election official says the state Republican Party initially failed to properly credential its poll watchers on time in the state’s most populous county, but the problem was sorted out in time for Election Day
7:58PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Washington state to ease restrictions Monday
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee says some pandemic restrictions will be eased starting Monday and the state will change its reopening plan to move from a county-based oversight system to one focused on regions
7:23PM ( 47 minutes ago )
Hundreds of Trump supporters flock to DC ahead of vote
Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump have descended on the nation’s capital to cheer his baseless claims of election fraud a day before a congressional vote to affirm Joe Biden’s election victory
7:17PM ( 52 minutes ago )
A final EPA rollback under Trump curbs use of health studies
The Environmental Protection Agency has released one of its last major rollbacks under the Trump administration
7:14PM ( 56 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: Trump's false fraud claims resonate with GOP
President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims about the 2020 election have resonated with Republican voters in Georgia: About 7 in 10 agree with his false assertion that Joe Biden is not the legitimately elected president
6:07PM ( 2 hours ago )
Georgia deciding US Senate control in election's final day
Georgians are casting their ballots in two critical races that will determine control of the U.S. Senate and, in turn, the fate of President-elect Joe Biden’s legislative agenda
6:01PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Ga. Public Broadcasting denied GOP party access
Georgia Public Broadcasting says its reporters have been denied access to the Georgia GOP’s election night watch party
5:50PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Pandemic haunts new year as virus growth outpaces vaccines
Despite growing vaccine access, January is looking grim around the globe as the virus resurges and reshapes itself from Britain to Japan to California
7:05PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: NY officials offer competing vaccine strategies
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are offering competing strategies for ramping up New York’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts
5:00PM ( 3 hours ago )
Gulf Arab leaders sign declaration to ease rift with Qatar
Gulf Arab leaders signed a declaration to ease a rift with Qatar, following Saudi Arabia’s decision to end a 3 1/2-year embargo of the tiny energy-rich country that deeply divided regional U.S. security allies and frayed social ties across the Arabian Peninsula
4:20PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP World News
Regulators get plan for undoing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline
The developers of the now-canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline are laying out plans for how they want to go about unwinding their work and restoring disturbed land
6:37PM ( 1 hour ago )
Late sales rebound helps US automakers avoid 2020 disaster
U.S. new-vehicle sales fell 14.6% last year, but a second-half rebound from a springtime plunge kindled optimism for recovery later this year
6:18PM ( 1 hour ago )
Some taxpayers find relief payments sent to wrong account
A number of taxpayers who use tax preparation services, such as H&R Block and TurboTax, say their second relief payments were sent to the incorrect bank account
6:16PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
World Bank sees subdued recovery in 2021 and plenty of risk
The World Bank on Tuesday forecast that the global economy will see a subdued recovery this year from a devastating pandemic but warned that the near-term outlook is highly uncertain and growth could be harmed if infections keep rising and the rollout of vaccines is delayed
12:42PM ( 7 hours ago )
India says it hasn't banned the export of COVID-19 vaccines
India's health ministry says the government hasn't banned the export of COVID-19 vaccines
11:40AM ( 8 hours ago )
US factories grew in December at fastest pace since mid-2018
American factories grew in December at the fastest pace in more than two years as manufacturing continued to fare better during the pandemic than the battered services sector
11:17AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
AP VoteCast: GOP voters in Georgia back Trump's false claims
About three-quarters of voters who backed Republican candidates in Georgia’s Senate runoffs say President-elect Joe Biden was not legitimately elected in November
7:45PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Georgia counting votes in runoffs that decide Senate control
Georgia officials have begun counting the final votes of the nation’s turbulent 2020 election season as polls closed in two critical races that will determine control of the U.S. Senate and, in turn, the fate of President-elect Joe Biden’s legislative agenda
7:45PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Georgia counting ballots in crucial Senate runoff elections
Georgia officials have begun counting the final votes of the nation’s turbulent 2020 election season as polls closed in two critical races that will determine control of the U.S. Senate and, in turn, the fate of President-elect Joe Biden’s legislative agenda
7:38PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Mexico to vaccinate rural elderly, but still awaits vaccine
Once Mexico has vaccinated its frontline medical workers against COVID-19, the government will turn its attention to the elderly living in its most remote places
7:29PM ( 40 minutes ago )
The Latest: Washington state to ease restrictions Monday
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee says some pandemic restrictions will be eased starting Monday and the state will change its reopening plan to move from a county-based oversight system to one focused on regions
7:23PM ( 47 minutes ago )