North Korea’s Kim says economic plan failed as rare party congress begins

The rare political gathering, which Kim last hosted in 2016, has drawn regional attention as he is expected to unveil a newfive-year economic plan and address foreign policy just two weeks before U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his five-year economic plan had failed to meet its goal “onalmost every sector” as he kicked off the ruling Workers’ Party congress on Tuesday, state media KCNA reported on Wednesday.

The rare political gathering, which Kim last hosted in 2016, has drawn regional attention as he is expected to unveil a newfive-year economic plan and address foreign policy just two weeks before U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

In his opening speech, Kim called for the strengthening of North Korea’s self-reliant power, which he said would help ittackle internal and outside challenges that hinder its progress.

“The previous five-year plan was due last year but ittremendously fell short of goals on almost every sector,” Kim said.

But Kim lauded workers for “resolutely overcoming difficulties” in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

North Korea has not confirmed any coronavirus outbreak, butSouth Korean authorities had said an outbreak there cannot beruled out as the country had active trade and people movementwith China before closing the border in late January.

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