Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - North Korea’s Kim admits mistakes as party congress opens: KCNA



North Korea’s Kim admits mistakes as party congress opens: KCNA

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (centre) speaks during the first day of the 8th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) in Pyongyang. KCNA/KNS/AFP

North Korea’s Kim admits mistakes as party congress opens: KCNA

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un admitted the country’s economic development plan had fallen short in “almost all areas” as he opened a rare congress of the ruling Workers’ Party, state media reported on January 6.

The gathering is the first of its kind in five years, only the eighth in the nuclear-armed country’s history, and comes weeks before US President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

Relations with Washington have been deadlocked since talks between Kim and President Donald Trump stalled over sanctions relief and what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in return.

At the same time the North is more isolated than ever after closing its borders last January to protect itself against the coronavirus.

The congress opened on January 5 in the capital, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

Pictures in the Rodong Sinmum ruling party newspaper showed 5,000 delegates packed into the cavernous hall, none of them wearing masks.

On the first day of his work review, Kim said the results of the last five-year economic development strategy “fell extremely short of our goals in almost all areas”, KCNA reported.

The plan was quietly scrapped ahead of schedule last year.

“We intend to comprehensively analyse in depth . . . our experiences, lessons and the errors committed,” added Kim, who wore a black suit and a lapel badge of his father and grandfather.

KCNA’s transcript did not specify any of the mistakes, and gave no indication Kim mentioned either Washington or Seoul in his speech, which is expected to continue on January 6.

The coronavirus pandemic has added to the pressures on the North, with Pyongyang blockading itself far more effectively than even the most hawkish backer of sanctions could ever hope to achieve.

Trade with key ally China is at a tiny fraction of the usual level, while many foreign embassies have closed or drastically reduced their representations.

Pyongyang insists that it has not had a single case of the disease – observers doubt the claim – but summer floods put further strain on its finances.

Analysts say the congress will largely focus on domestic issues, reaffirming the importance of “self-reliance” and proclaiming a new economic plan.

The Rodong Sinmun on January 3 called for unwavering loyalty to Kim, saying that a “united spirit” was necessary to ensure a “victorious” year.

The congress is the top ruling party meeting, a grand political set-piece that reinforces the regime’s authority and is closely followed by analysts for signs of policy shifts or elite personnel changes.

Kim’s sister and key adviser Kim Yo-jong was among the officials elected to the presidium of the congress, in a sign of her increasing standing.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Lost in translation: ‘Starvation’ in capital’s designated red zones

    “DACH bay” is a Khmer slang meaning a “loss of income”, that could also be literally translated to «deprived of rice”, which alludes to starvation. However, civil society organisation (CSO) officials have independently confirmed the government’s prior assertions that there are no cases of