North Korea’s leader vows to address economic difficulties

Seoul, South Korea (AP) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has taken a “serious oath” to lift his country out of economic woes as he concludes a meeting of a major ruling party, acknowledging food shortages and urges officials to be prepared for both talks and confrontations

North Korea’s state media released Kim’s remarks shortly before Sung Kim, President Joe Biden’s special representative for North Korea, arrived in South Korea on Saturday for talks on stalled nuclear diplomacy.

Kim Jong Un chaired a four-day plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee, which he called to discuss efforts to revive a dismal economy hurt by years of mismanagement and US-led sanctions , which were made worse by the extent of the pandemic. Close.

As he closed meetings on Friday, Kim “swore solemnly” on behalf of the Central Committee that the party would “certainly face difficulties on the way to the revolution,” the Korean Central News Agency reported.

Kim previously ordered his government to prepare for both talks and confrontations with the United States, which is urging the North to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions and return to talks.

Kim has threatened to strengthen his nuclear deterrent, saying the fate of diplomacy and bilateral ties depends on whether Washington abandons the hostile policies he calls.

Kim opened the central committee’s plenary meeting on Tuesday by warning of a possible food shortage, urging officials to find ways to boost agricultural production as the situation is “getting tense now.” He said the country should be prepared for extended COVID-19 restrictions, suggesting it would extend border closures and other steps despite the strain on its economy.

The economic shock has left Kim with nothing to show for his ambitious summit with former President Donald Trump, which derailed a disagreement in lifting sanctions with the North’s denuclearization moves.

US officials have suggested that President Joe Biden would adopt a middle ground policy among his predecessors – Trump’s direct dealing with Kim and Barack Obama’s “strategic patience”. But some experts say Washington will not give North Korea meaningful sanctions relief unless it first takes concrete denuclearization steps.

During his stay in South Korea, Sung Kim will meet senior South Korean diplomats and participate in a trilateral meeting that includes Japanese nuclear envoy Takehiro Funakoshi on Monday. The US State Department said his visit emphasizes the importance of three-way cooperation in working towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

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