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North Korea’s Kim calls for improving people’s lives amid ‘critical’ economy

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un urged officials to focus on improving the lives of citizens in the face of a “serious” economic situation, state media reported on Monday, as he marked the anniversary of the country’s ruling party .

Art performances, gala and firework shows were held in Pyongyang to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea on Sunday, but there were no major military parades sometimes held on such occasions.

North Korea’s economy is battered by years of sanctions on its nuclear and weapons programs, and heavy rains and floods have also taken a toll.

The country’s most vulnerable risk starvation after slipping deep into self-imposed isolation COVID-19 The pandemic, and the worsening humanitarian situation, could turn into a crisis, a UN rights investigator said last week in a report seen by Reuters.

According to state news agency KCNA, Kim said in a speech that the country faces “massive tasks to accommodate and develop the state’s economy” and to meet the economic goals established at recent party and government meetings.

“Despite the dire situation, the only way for the entire party to move forward dynamically is for the entire party to unite,” he said, making no mention of his political standoff over nuclear weapons.

Officials should not desire privilege and preferential treatment, and “should always consider whether their work violates people’s interests or causes people trouble,” Kim said. State media showed Kim addressing a room full of officers dressed in black. no major social distancing, masks, or other anti-COVID-19 measures are in the clear.

The country has not reported a single case of the virus but has imposed strict border lockdowns, movement restrictions and other measures.

State television broadcasts showed young people participating in the festival, and others offering flowers to statues of the country’s past leaders. The US State Department on Thursday accused Kim’s government of being primarily responsible for the humanitarian situation in the country.

“The regime continues to exploit its citizens, violate their human rights, take resources from the nation’s people to build its illegal (weapons of mass destruction) and ballistic missile program,” spokesman Ned Price told a briefing in Washington. ” The United States supports efforts to provide humanitarian aid to North Korea.

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