Kim presented his program for 2022 in comments to the cadres of the ruling party, which were published by the state media on Saturday. They probably replaced the traditional New Year’s speech. They have a special dimension because the 37-year-old dictator has been exercising his power for 10 years. On December 29, 2011, he was officially presented as “Supreme Leader of the Party, Army and Nation”. Bloomberg described the speech as “depressing”.
North Korea’s rulers rarely admit to the tensions the regime is facing. This time, Kim Jong Un said that the country’s economic projects “are in difficult conditions.” In his speech, he put a lot of emphasis on the rural development plan. He also raised the issue of the food crisis, school uniforms and the fight against “unsocialist practices”.
Kim issued a warning to the US and South Korea saying that the country would continue to “vigorously” develop its military capabilities in the face of the “unstable” situation on the Korean peninsula, but the dictator refrained from making threats in previous proclamations.
“Kim may be aware that revealing sophisticated military development plans while people suffer from food shortages and harsh conditions outside Pyongyang may not be a good idea this year,” said Chad O’Carroll, founder of NK News, on Twitter. follows events in North Korea.
The North Korean leader also spoke of the need to improve people’s lives in the face of “the great struggle for life and death.” Fighting the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is to be a high priority. North Korea has long boasted that it has not recorded any cases of COVID-19 infection, which has been widely doubted.
The economic crisis in North Korea
North Korea has long suffered from chronic food shortages, but the economic downturn has been exacerbated by the pandemic and the closure of borders, as well as last year’s devastating natural disasters to crops.
Sources in North Korea have reported in recent months a growing number of orphaned children living in the streets and people dying of starvation.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 10.9 million people in North Korea in 2018-2020, or 42.4 percent. the country’s population suffered from malnutrition. This is more than in the years 2004-2006, when the percentage of malnourished people was 33.8%.
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Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, PAP