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North Korean leader calls for improved living conditions


North Korea said leader Kim Jong Un urged the authorities to overcome a “grim situation” the country is facing and to redouble their efforts to improve the food and living conditions of its people.

But state media did not mention any specific comments about Washington and Seoul when they reported on Kim’s speech marking the 76th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party.

Nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled for more than two years amid disagreements over exchanging the release of crippling US-led sanctions against North Korea and the North’s denuclearization measures.

The country has stepped up missile testing activities in recent weeks while making conditional peace offers in Seoul, reigniting a tendency to pressure South Korea to get what it wants from the United States.

The official Korean Central Pyongyang News Agency said Kim during his speech on Sunday said his party was determined to meet the economic goals set at the party’s congress in January, when he acknowledged that his previous economic plans were unsuccessful and released new development plans for the next five years.

The agency said Kim confirmed the party’s determination to effectively implement the five-year plan to boost “the national economy and solve the food, clothing and housing problems of the people.”

The KCNA said Kim analyzed the “unprecedented difficulties” facing the North and called for unity of spirit in the development of the state’s economy in the face of the “grim situation”.

The World Health Organization said last week that some of its COVID-19 medical supplies had arrived at a port in North Korea, an indication the North was easing one of the world’s toughest pandemic border closures. to receive outside help.

Kim has so far rejected offers by the Biden administration to resume dialogue without preconditions, saying Washington must first abandon its “hostile policies,” a term the North uses primarily to refer to sanctions and drills. US-Korean military.

But the North has also reestablished lines of communication with the South in recent weeks and said it could take further steps to improve bilateral relations if Seoul abandons its “double-handed attitude” and “hostile view”. .

Analysts say North Korea is using the South’s desire for inter-Korean engagement to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul and to pressure the South to obtain concessions from the Biden administration on its behalf.

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