North Korean leader hails efforts to build ‘model’ city
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has returned from a month-long hiatus from the public eye …
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has returned from a month-long hiatus to inspect a large development project near the border with China, which he says embodies the ” iron will “of his country to achieve prosperity in the face of isolation and international pressure.
The official North Korean Central News Agency said on Tuesday that Kim expressed satisfaction during his visit to the city of Samjiyon over the progress of construction in an area he described as the “sacred place of the sun. “. Samjiyon is at the foot of Mount Paektu, the heart of North Korea’s founding myth that revolves around the Kim family and is described by official accounts as the spiritual center of the country’s revolution.
Making Samjiyon a “model cultured city” was one of the main goals of a nationwide building campaign that North Korea intended to complete in time for the 75th anniversary of its party’s founding. in power in October of last year. But construction has been slowed amid pandemic border closures and international sanctions over Kim’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Kim has struggled to weather what appears to be his most difficult time as a leader with the country’s self-imposed lockdown of COVID-19, creating yet another shock for an economy battered by sanctions and decades of bad management.
KCNA said construction at Samjiyon could be completed by the end of this year, which could give Kim a much-needed trophy as he reaches a decade of rule since taking power after the death from his father in December 2011.
Kim praised the workers for their “high loyalty, strong will and sweat” to move the project forward in the face of an “adverse environment” and said Samjiyon would become a guideline for rural development. He said the country’s four years of developing Samjiyon, which involved constructing thousands of houses and buildings as well as new roads and an electricity grid, demonstrated its steadfast unity and “iron will” for it. “achieve prosperity our way”. “said KCNA.
The visit was Kim’s first public appearance reported in state media since he gave a speech at an arms show on October 11.
“Affirming the successful development of Samjiyon is politically important at this time because the Mount Paekdu region is central to North Korean mythology and the embellished story of the birth of the previous leader,” as Kim may soon commemorate the 10 years since his father’s death, said Leif-Eric Easley, professor at Ewha University in Seoul.
North Korea closely associates Paektu with Kim’s founding grandfather, Kim Il Sung, who, according to official accounts, saved the Korean peninsula with daring guerrilla raids against Japanese invaders from his base on the mountain slopes. before the end of World War II. North Korea also claims, possibly incorrectly, that Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il, was born in Paektu.
Since becoming leader, Kim Jong Un has spent years consolidating his power by suppressing political rivals and family members while spurring the development of nuclear weapons and missiles which he sees as his best safeguard. survival.
He began diplomacy with former US President Donald Trump in 2018 while trying to leverage his nuclear program for sanctions relief, but those talks derailed in 2019 due to disagreements over a plan to withdraw sanctions led by the United States in exchange for partial denuclearization by North Korea.
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