Kim Jong-un calls for improved productivity in key sectors at plenary meeting

Kim Jong-un calls for improved productivity in key sectors at plenary meeting

Seoul, Feb 9 – The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, has asked in a plenary session of his country’s single party to improve the productivity of key sectors such as metallurgy or fertilizers at a time when that the Pyongyang regime seeks to implement a new five-year plan to overcome a major economic downturn.

In the plenary, held on Monday, Kim asked “to boost the production of iron and steel and fertilizers by concentrating investment in the metallurgical and chemical industries, configured as the main link in the chain of the national economy,” according to a note published today by North Korean news agency KCNA.
In his report to the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party Kim also “pointed out important goals to be achieved this year in key industrial fields, including the electric power and coal industries, and in the fields of rail transportation, construction and building materials, light industry and commerce “.
The plenary sessions of the Central Committee of the only North Korean political formation are usually held at least once a year to discuss core policy and organizational issues.
This is the second to be held this year, since the first took place in January during the congress of the Workers’ Party.
During the congress, the leader himself admitted the difficulties his impoverished country is going through, hit this year by border closures motivated by the pandemic and several typhoons, and a new five-year economic plan was announced, of which no specific data has been disclosed. .
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, North Korea closed its borders in January 2020, which is making it difficult for foreign capital and goods to enter.
Comprehensive reviews of products arriving from China, a country from which North Korea obtains around 90% of its imports, have reduced exports by 99% from pre-pandemic levels, according to data Beijing Customs.
North Korea continues to maintain that it has not detected a single case of covid-19 on its borders and, although the total absence of contagion is a statement that many experts doubt due to the porosity of the border with China, there are indications that the virus has not gotten out of control in the most isolated country in the world. 

Ben Oakley
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