Food situation in the country is 'tense', North Korea's Kim says

Photo: AP In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a ruling party congress in Pyongyang on 5 January 2021.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the country's economy improved this year but called for measures to tackle the "tense" food situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic and last year's typhoons, Reuters reported, citing state media on Wednesday. Kim chaired a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers' Party's central committee on Tuesday to review progress on major policies and craft measures to resolve economic issues, according to the official KCNA news agency.

The committee set goals and tasks to achieve its new five-year economic plan outlined at its previous session in February, including increased food and metal production.

Kim said the overall economy had improved in the first half of the year, with the total industrial output growing 25% from a year before, KCNA said. But there was "a series of deviations" in the party's efforts to implement the plans due to several obstacles, he said, singling out tight food supplies. "The people's food situation is now getting tense as the agricultural sector failed to fulfil its grain production plan due to the damage by typhoon last year," Kim said. The party vowed to direct all efforts to farming this year and discuss ways to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, KCNA said.

Kim called for steps to minimise impacts of natural disasters as a lesson from last year and key to attain this year's goal.

In January, Kim said his previous five-year economic plan had failed in almost every sector, amid chronic power and food shortages exacerbated by sanctions, the pandemic and floods.

He also the protracted pandemic required the party to step up efforts to provide food, clothing and housing for the people, KCNA said.

North Korea has not officially confirmed any Covid-19 cases, a claim questioned by Seoul officials. But the reclusive country has imposed strict anti-virus measures including border closures and domestic travel restrictions.

COVAX, a global initiative for sharing Covid-19 vaccines with poor countries, has said it will provide nearly 2 million doses to North Korea but the shipment has been delayed amid protracted consultations, Reuters noted.

 

Similar articles

  • Koreas reopen communication channels, agree to improve ties

    Koreas reopen communication channels, agree to improve ties

    The leaders of North and South Korea have agreed to restore suspended communication channels between them and to improve ties, both governments said on Tuesday, amid a 2 ½ year-stalemate in US-led diplomacy aimed at stripping North Korea of its nuclear weapons, AP reported. While the move could certainly help ease animosities on the Korean Peninsula, it’s unclear whether Pyongyang would go as far as to revive previous vigorous cooperation programmes with Seoul and get back to the nuclear talks with Washington.

    22
  • US will continue airstrikes in support of Afghan forces fighting the Taliban

    US will continue airstrikes in support of Afghan forces fighting the Taliban

    The US will continue airstrikes in support of Afghan forces fighting the Taliban, a top US general said on Sunday, as the insurgents press on with offensives across the country, news wires reported. Since early May, violence has surged after the insurgents launched a sweeping assault just days after the US-led foreign forces began their final withdrawal.

    "The United States has increased airstrikes in the support of Afghan forces over the last several days, and we are prepared to continue this heightened level of support in the coming weeks if the Taliban continue their attacks," General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Army Central Command, told reporters in Kabul.

    29