North Korea urges citizens to ‘put national interest first’ in latest economic push

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June 8 (UPI) — North Korea‘s economy should make a new leap forward, state media said, the same day that KCNA reported leader Kim Jong Un held a meeting with top officials.

Korean Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun on Tuesday called on North Koreans to “push the march forward,” while overcoming difficulties through “innovations made in solidarity.”

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“All sectors and units should actively cooperate and replenish support to speed up progress together,” the Rodong said.

“This is our tradition of proud struggle that is our way of moving forward.”

The Rodong highlighted Party members and factories or work units that have increased production by “strengthening systematic solidarity and cooperation.”

The article also warned work units that act out of self-interest without thinking of production from a national point of view.

“Every sector and every unit puts the national interest first,” and applies the state ideology of “self-reliance” as a “weapon of practice,” the Rodong said.

North Korea’s economic activities shrunk significantly in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. Typhoons and flooding in farming areas also led to lower agricultural output, according to South Korean analysts.

The Rodong’s call for a new leap forward came the same day KCNA reported that Kim instructed his subordinates to make “devoted efforts” to improve the economy.

“The consultative meeting, on the threshold of the plenary meeting of the Party Central Committee, had an intensive check on the detailed situation of every field in regard to the implementation of main policies for the latter half of this year, and discussed the practical issues to cope with the situation,” KCNA said.

Kim could be centralizing economic directives.

Yonhap reported Tuesday a South Korean unification ministry official said the decision “appears to be part of a process of strengthening the sense of policy alignment between the central government and cities, as well as counties, and to strengthen its executive ability.”

Pyongyang has rejected Seoul’s offers of economic assistance and joint cooperation on COVID-19.