8 January 2021
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un highlighted the need to significantly improve his nation’s ties with the outside world as he addressed a major political conference for the third consecutive day. State media said Kim also reviewed relations with rival South Korea but didn’t elaborate on what steps he said he wanted to take.
Observers had expected Kim to use the first congress of the ruling Workers’ Party in five years to send peace-making gestures toward Seoul and Washington as he faces deepening economic troubles at home. In his speech on the third day of the meeting on Thursday, Kim declared the general orientation and the policy stand of the party for comprehensively expanding and developing the external relations, the Korean Central News Agency said on Friday.
Kim also examined relations with South Korea as required by the prevailing situation and the changed times, KCNA said. The congress is the party’s top decision-making body which review past projects, lay out new priorities and restructure top officials. This month’s congress was convened as Kim is struggling to overcome what he calls multiple crises caused by an economy battered by pandemic-related border closings, a series of natural disasters and U.S.-led sanctions.
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