At the beginning of a congress, North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un admitted the ruling Labor Party had made mistakes in economic policy. The goals of the five-year development plan drawn up in 2016 had been missed “in almost all areas,” Kim said on Tuesday in his opening speech in front of thousands of participants.
The state-controlled media reported on Wednesday. Kim, who is also the party leader, promised the party would find a new way to make a “big leap forward.” What the new strategy would look like was initially open.
Because of its nuclear weapons program, North Korea is subject to international sanctions that have been holding back the country’s economic development for many years. The country had already announced in August that the work of the party’s central committee would be reviewed at the next congress and that a new development plan for the next five years would be presented. Even then, the party had admitted mistakes in implementing the previous development strategy.
However, Kim was not entirely self-critical. When the head of state, together with the members of the Politburo and the Central Committee, took the podium at the congress on Tuesday morning, all participants reportedly greeted the ruler with stormy “shouts of hurray”. Kim also spoke of “a wonderful victory” that the country had achieved by strengthening its power and global prestige. Both external and internal challenges would have hampered progress.
Last October, Kim had already apologized to the people once. Apparently emotionally, he apologized at the time for not improving the lives of North Koreans. “I am ashamed that I could never really repay your enormous trust,” he said accordingly.
The consequences of floods and the coronavirus pandemic had also hit the strictly isolated country last year. The country had closed its borders early on because of the corona outbreak, which also had a strong impact on trade with China. Contact with the neighboring country is considered a lifeline for impoverished North Korea.
Officially, there has not been a single corona case in North Korea so far. As at mass events and various party meetings last year, the participants in the congress did not wear a protective mask against the virus.