Kim Jong Un Says North Korea is Facing Its 'Worst-Ever' Crisis

Published April 7th, 2021 - 10:15 GMT
Kim Jong Un explains the gravity North Korea faces
Kim Jong Un in a somber mood (Twitter)
The previous conference of cell secretaries was held in 2017.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has admitted his country is facing its 'worst-ever situation' as its crumbling economy is battered by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Kim made the comments during an address to thousands of grassroots members of his ruling party during a major political conference in Pyongyang on Tuesday.    

Experts say Kim is facing perhaps his toughest moment as he approaches a decade in power as North Korea's coronavirus lockdown has unleashed further shock on an economy devastated by decades of mismanagement and crippling US-led sanctions over his nuclear weapons program.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency said Kim made the comments during an opening speech at a meeting of the Workers´ Party´s cell secretaries.

He said: 'Improving the people´s living standards ... even in the worst-ever situation in which we have to overcome unprecedentedly numerous challenges depends on the role played by the cells, the grassroots organizations of the party'. 

He urged members to follow decisions made at a party congress in January, when he vowed to bolster his nuclear deterrent in face of U.S. pressure and announced a new five-year national development plan. 

The congress came months after Kim showed unusual candor by acknowledging that his plans to improve the economy weren't succeeding during another political conference.

During Tuesday's speech, Kim also criticized the party's grassroots units for unspecified 'shortcomings' that should be immediately corrected to ensure the 'healthy and sustainable' development of the party. 

Party cells, which consist of five to 30 members, are the smallest units of party authority that oversee the works and lives at factories and other places. The network is an important tool for Workers' party to perpetuate its power.

The previous conference of cell secretaries was held in 2017.

The economic setbacks have left Kim with nothing to show for his ambitious diplomacy with former President Donald Trump, which collapsed over disagreements in lifting sanctions for the North's denuclearization efforts.

The North has so far rejected the Biden administration's overture for talks, saying that Washington must discard its 'hostile' policies first.

Kim has instead dialed up pressure by resuming tests of ballistic missiles last month after a yearlong pause.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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