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N.Korea ruling party plenary discusses rural development

The North’s emphasis on rural development comes as the country struggles from crippling sanctions and protracted pandemic-driven border closures.

IANS | Seoul |

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has presided over the second-day session of a key party plenary to discuss rural development measures amid the country’s drive to tackle economic woes, Pyongyang’s state media reported on Wednesday.

During the meeting on Tuesday, Kim “set forth medium- and long-term development strategies and major tasks for attaining the grand goal of rural development in line with the realistic conditions and the requirement of the times”, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

North Korea opened the 4th Plenary Meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s 8th Central Committee on Monday amid expectations Pyongyang could unveil its new policy directions on the economy and foreign affairs for the new year.

Tuesday’s meeting dealt with “rural questions” to which Kim took “important revolutionary measures”, the KCNA said without elaborating on what they were.

“The new program on socialist rural construction won full support and approval by the participants in the meeting,” the report said.

North Korea has been calling for the “face-lifting” of local areas as a first step of “building a powerful country”.

In November, Kim visited the northwestern city of Samjiyon, where a major development project is underway, and called it a “picturesque model unit in rural buildup” and a starting point “in making the people in local areas witness a leaping progress to a highly civilized material and cultural life”.

The North’s emphasis on rural development comes as the country struggles from crippling sanctions and protracted pandemic-driven border closures.

Its economy is estimated to have shrunk 4.5 per cent on-year in 2020, from 0.4 per cent growth a year earlier, government data showed.