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  • N. Korean Leader Admits Economic Failures In Rare Congress Speech

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers a speech at the opening or a rare ruling party congress on Jan. 5, 2021. (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap News)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers a speech at the opening or a rare ruling party congress on Jan. 5, 2021. (Photo: KCNA-Yonhap News)
[Anchor]

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has admitted to the country's failure to meet its economic development goals as he opened the first congress of the ruling Workers' Party in five years.

Ron Chang reports.

[Reporter]

Kim Jong-un said the results of their five-year economic development strategy "fell extremely short" of their goals "in almost all areas."

He called the past five years "unprecedented" and the "worst of the worst" time for the country, without specifying any of the mistakes, and called for greater self-reliance to strengthen national power and tackle the challenges they face.

The North's economy has suffered major fallout from COVID-19-caused border closings, a series of floods and other natural disasters last year and continued U.S.-led sanctions.

During Tuesday's speech, Kim made no mention of the United States but said he would suggest efforts for reunification and promoting external relations.

It's the second party congress under Kim, who took power in 2011.

In photos released by state media, the opening was packed with thousands of participants, none wearing face masks.

The congress could last for multiple days, likely focusing on domestic issues and industries, and proclaiming a new economic plan.

There's also speculation it could end with a massive military parade.
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