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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

North Korea ruling party to hold key meeting on agriculture

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North Korea’s ruling party will hold a key meeting this month to discuss agricultural development, citing the need for “radical change”, state media reported Monday.

The isolated, nuclear-armed nation — which is under multiple sets of sanctions over its weapons programmes — has long struggled to feed itself.

It is highly vulnerable to natural disasters including flood and drought due to a chronic lack of infrastructure, deforestation and decades of state mismanagement.

“It is a very important and urgent task to establish the correct strategy for the development of agriculture,” read a resolution of the political bureau of the Workers’ Party of Korea, published by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Recognising the need for “a turning point” and “radical change” in agriculture, the bureau decided to convene a plenary meeting of the WPK’s central committee in late February, KCNA said.

Typically such meetings are convened only once or twice a year, and the latest announcement came just two months after a meeting of the country’s top leadership.

North Korea has a fragile economy and it has long been criticised for prioritising its military and banned nuclear weapons programmes over adequately providing for its people.

The country has periodically been hit by famines, one of which in the 1990s killed hundreds of thousands of people — some estimates range into millions.

North Korea has also been under a rigid self-imposed coronavirus blockade since early 2020 to protect itself from the Covid-19 pandemic, only resuming some trade with China last year.

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