N Korea’s Kim orders legal supervision over economic plan

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered tougher legal supervision to support his development plans and eradicate various economy-related unlawful acts, state media said yesterday, as he works to salvage an economy battered by the pandemic and other challenges.

Kim spoke on Wednesday during a Workers’ Party meeting convened to follow up on decisions made at the ruling party’s congress in January, where he admitted previous economic plans had failed and announced a new five-year development plan.

Kim “stressed the importance to strengthen legal supervision and control over the establishment and executive process of the national economic plan”, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

He said prosecutors and other law enforcement organisations must do more to ensure the economic plan is correctly executed and “stage a strong legal struggle for checking all kinds of illegal practices revealed in economic activities”. Kim added that “all sectors and units should obey them unconditionally”, KCNA said.

North Korea’s top prosecutor U Sang Chol told the party meeting that he will firmly implement Kim’s order. He said he’ll “offensively” keep legal watch over agencies violating the socialist economic management order and take “powerful measures” against any acts hampering efforts to strengthen industries, according to KCNA.

Kim faces what appears to be the toughest crisis of his nine-year rule as the already-troubled economy is hit by pandemic-related border closings that have sharply reduced the North’s external trade, a spate of natural disasters last summer and persistent US-led sanctions. During the party congress, Kim described the difficulties as the “worst-ever”.

The new five-year plan centres on building a stronger self-supporting economy, reducing reliance on imports, making more investments in the metal and chemical industries and increasing production of consumer goods.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. PHOTO: AP