SEOUL, June 30 (UPI) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un criticized officials’ “chronic irresponsibility and incompetence” in implementing government policies, resulting in unspecified “grave consequences” in the country’s fight against the COVID pandemic. 19, state media reported on Wednesday.
Kim said officials “have neglected the implementation of important Party decisions” in their pandemic prevention campaign, which “create[ed] a great crisis to ensure the security of the state and the safety of people and has resulted in serious consequences, “according to the central Korean news agency.
Kim’s remarks came at a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea’s political bureau on Tuesday, KCNA reported.
North Korea maintains it has had no cases of COVID-19, although outside experts have expressed doubts about the claim.
According to information Reported to the World Health Organization, North Korea tested 31,083 people for COVID-19 as of June 17, all of whom were negative. During the period June 11-17, 149 people were tested with “flu-like illness and / or severe acute respiratory infections,” according to the WHO report.
The secret state has taken early and extreme measures to prevent an outbreak, including sealing its borders in January 2020 and imposing severe restrictions on daily life that have led many foreign diplomats and aid workers to leave the country.
Tuesday’s politburo meeting was called to “categorically address the dereliction of duty of certain senior officials in carrying out the main political tasks of the Party and the state, and to mark a new turning point in the administration staff within the Party, “KCNA reported.
At the meeting, Kim cited the “lack of capacity and irresponsibility” of officials and called for “a more fierce Party-wide campaign against ideological faults and all kinds of negative elements.”
“[Kim] has seriously underlined that the chronic irresponsibility and incompetence of the cadres currently cause artificial difficulties in the implementation of the Party’s policy and become a major obstacle which greatly hinders the development of revolutionary work, “KCNA reported.
North Korea has faced major economic hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic after closing its borders, cutting trade by some 80% with its main partner, China.
The country also continued to struggle under years of international sanctions over its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs, while a series of typhoons last year caused flooding and extensive damage to buildings, roads. and cultures.
Earlier this month, Kim admitted that “the food situation is now getting tense” in North Korea due to agricultural shortages the previous year. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recently reported that North Korea was short of 860,000 tonnes of food and warned that the situation could worsen in August.