Kim Jong-un ‘Harshly Criticizes’ North Korea’s Economic Agencies

In this Saturday, April 11, 2020, file photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a politburo meeting of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang. The South Korean government is looking into reports that North Korean leader Kim is in fragile condition …
Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un “harshly criticized” the country’s economic agencies this weekend for failing to adhere to specific scientific methods, state media reported Monday.

During an extended meeting of the communist Politburo on Sunday ahead of next year’s Workers Party Congress, Kim “harshly criticized economic guidance organs for failing to provide scientific guidance” and “failing to overcome subjectivism and formalism in their work.”

“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,” reported the Korean Central News Agency (KNCA). “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.”

Kim’s raising of such concerns comes as the North Korean economy, which was already struggling under the weight of global economic sanctions, continues to suffer under the pressure of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. Pyongyang’s own lockdowns have cut it off to much of the foreign capital it once relied on. Adding to these economic troubles has been the impact of consecutive summer typhoons believed to have devastated large swathes of the nation’s countryside.

His criticisms also follow unconfirmed reports last week that Kim has executed at least two officials in the past two months. Such reports, which cannot be independently verified, identified the two victims as a foreign exchange dealer accused of causing currency fluctuations and an official responsible for customs checks on the Chinese border.

In August, the 36-year-old dictator made a tearful admission that, despite incessant propaganda about his own unending wisdom and supernatural powers, North Korea’s economic progress has been “seriously delayed” and the population continues to struggle as a result of “unexpected and inevitable challenges in various aspects.”

“Our people have placed trust, as high as sky and as deep as sea, on me, but I have failed to always live up to it satisfactorily. I am really sorry for that,” Kim declared before a military rally.

“Although I am entrusted with the important responsibility to lead this country upholding the cause of the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il thanks to the trust of all the people, my efforts and sincerity have not been sufficient enough to rid our people of the difficulties in their life,” he continued.

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