Kim Jong Un Kicks Off Rare North Korea Party Congress

Date: 2021-01-06 10:13:03

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a dire warning at North Korea’s first ruling party congress in five years, saying development plans fell far short of their goals and the party would explore a “new path” for making a “big leap forward.”

The meeting, where leadership changes are expected, comes as Kim’s battered economy was dealt further blows by natural disasters and his decision to shut borders due to the coronavirus.

Remarks reported by state media didn’t mention any plans by Kim to revive stalled negotiations with the U.S. to curtail his nuclear arms program in exchange for easing sanctions choking the state’s paltry economy. The gathering of 5,000 delegates and party officials is being closely watched for clues to how Kim will approach the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden.

Kim is one of the few world leaders yet to congratulate — or even acknowledge — Biden’s defeat of President Donald Trump, who dispensed with decades of U.S. foreign policy to hold three meetings with the North Korean leader. There was no mention of the president-elect in the initial accounts of the event.

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