July 15, 2024
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By Soo-Hyang Choi

SEOUL, August 22 (Reuters), – North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un slammed top officials on Tuesday for their “irresponsible response” to the flood damages, saying that they “ruined” the nation’s economy.

Kim inspected a shoreland in the West Coast on Monday, after seawater had recently destroyed an embankment without adequate drainage, flooding over 560 hectares, including 270 hectares rice paddies.

Kim Tok Hun was singled out by Kim for his “very irresponsible and negligent” failure to perform duties. Kim Tok Hun is the premier of the Cabinet. He inspected the site of destruction once or twice with the “attitude of an observer”.

The KCNA reported in English that “He stated… the Kim Tok Hun cabinet’s administrative and economic disciplines have deteriorated in the last few years and the inactivity of idlers is ruining the economic activities of the state with their irresponsible working style.”

Kim stated that the lack of responsibility and discipline of officials was “mainly due to the weak work ethic and the wrong view of the Premier of the Cabinet.”

The visit this week is part of a long series of inspections that the North Korean leader made to inspect flood-damaged farmlands, amid growing concerns about a possible food shortage in the country.

Lim Eul Chul, a professor at South Korea’s Kyungnam University who specializes in North Korean Studies, believes Kim’s harsh criticisms could signal a cabinet reshuffle. Lim said that it also shows the economy has not developed as expected.

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Lim stated that Kim appeared to be angry because the economy was not progressing as he wanted.

In recent decades the North suffered from severe food shortages. Famines occurred in 1990s as a direct result of many natural disasters. Experts from around the world have said that closing borders during COVID-19 worsened things.

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