North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called on his country to embark on an 80-day campaign to attain its goals in every sector before a congress in January to decide a new five-year plan, state news agency KCNA said on 6 October.
Kim made the announcement in a politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party on 5 October. The meeting comes during a difficult year for North Korea as the coronavirus pandemic puts more pressure on a economy hurt by recent storms and flooding.
“We have performed historical feats with our costly efforts, boldly overcoming unprecedentedly grave trials and difficulties this year, but we should not rest on our laurels,” KCNA said.
“We still face the challenges that cannot be overlooked and there are many goals we have to attain within this year.”
In August, Kim had announced that the ruling party will hold a congress in January to decide a new five-year plan, with a party meeting noting serious delays in improving the national economy.
Last year, Kim had vowed to make a “frontal breakthrough” in the country’s campaign to build a self-reliant economy in the face of tightening sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear and missile programmes.
Security officials were watching for signs that North Korea may use an upcoming holiday to unveil new weapons or test-fire a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on 10 October, the 75th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party.
In July 2012, Kim had been promoted to the highest rank of Marshal in the Korean People’s Army, consolidating his position as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. North Korean state media often refers to him as Marshal Kim Jong-un, “the Marshal” or “Dear Respected”.
Kim’s leadership has followed the same cult of personality as his grandfather and father. In 2014, a UNHRC report suggested that Kim could be put on trial for crimes against humanity. He has ordered the purge or execution of several North Korean officials; he is widely believed to have ordered the 2017 assassination of his half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, in Malaysia. He has presided over an expansion of the consumer economy, construction projects and tourist attractions. Kim expanded North Korea’s nuclear program which led to heightened tensions in the 2017–18 North Korea crisis. In 2018 and 2019 Kim took part in a diplomatic process, meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump.