Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presided over a meeting of his ruling party – Workers’ Party of Korea – in his very first public appearance in almost over a month, and instructed for a big political conference to go over the efforts to salvage a falling economy.
The North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Saturday claimed that Kim Jong Un conveyed appreciation that a lot of works were being ramped up after the ideological enthusiasm and fighting spirit of self-reliance demonstrated by the party and his people.
But he also said there was a need to correct deflective matters and called for a plenary meeting of the Workers’ Party’s Central Committee to review overall state affairs for the first half of 2021. The party announced that the plenary meeting was set for June.
The appearance of the ‘Rocketman’ at Friday’s Politburo meeting was also the first ever time he showed himself in public since May 6, where he held a photo shoot with families of North Korean soldiers.
North Korea’s fight against a decaying economy has further deteriorated due to the COVID-19 pandemic border closures, which comprehensively reduced trade with China, which is its major ally and economic lifeline.
Last time the Workers’ Party held a plenary meeting of Central Committee members was back in February this year, when Kim slammed state economic agencies for their unaggressive and self-protecting tendencies in setting their annual goals.
While Kim said on Friday that North Korea was continuing to face challenges brought by unfavourable subjective and objective conditions and environment, the KCNA report did not mention any comments he made toward the United States or South Korea.
North Korea has so far ignored the allies’ calls to resume nuclear negotiations that have stalled since the collapse of the second summit between Kim and former President Donald Trump in February 2019. The Americans then rejected North Koreans’ demands for lifting sanctions in exchange for a piecemeal deal toward partially surrendering their nuclear capabilities.