North Korea praises economic performance for 2022 despite challenges


North Korea touted unprecedented economic performance in 2022, despite unprecedented challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, at a recent session of its supreme legislature that leader Kim Jong Un did not attend, according to state media reports Thursday.

In a report for the two-day meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly through Wednesday, Prime Minister Kim Tok Hun said the North Korean people have achieved “remarkable successes in the struggle for economic reconstruction” by overcoming “a variety of unprecedented challenges and threats,” said the official Korean Central Authority. the news agency said.

However, the prime minister did not comment on the economic performance, saying the cabinet exposed “numerous shortcomings” in last year’s struggle to implement the decisions of Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party. Those shortcomings were not specified.

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The North’s economy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, natural disasters and international economic sanctions designed to thwart Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions.

North Korea will hold a meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly at Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang on January 17-18, 2023. (KCNA/TBEN)

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The assembly approved the implementation of the state budget for 2022 and spending for this year, with 15.9 percent of the total spent last year on “further strengthening the war deterrent,” according to KCNA. The percentage of defense spending in the 2023 budget will remain the same, according to the report.

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Total government spending will increase by 1.7 percent in 2023 compared to the previous year. Investments in economic construction will increase by 1.2 percent this year, so that it will amount to 45 percent of total spending, the news agency said, without disclosing the actual size of the budget.

The North also earmarked spending on anti-virus measures for 2023 at “same as last year’s level” on a “top priority” basis.

By 2022, the original budget to tackle the pandemic was up 33.3 percent from the previous year, and the country actually spent 21.3 percent more than the original plan to respond to the virus outbreak, according to KCNA.

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The legislative session also passed a law on the protection of the “cultivated” Pyongyang dialect, apparently to eliminate the influence of South Korean-style speech.

Late last year, Kim Jong Un called for an “exponential increase” in the country’s nuclear arsenal, stressing the need to mass-produce tactical nuclear weapons, as well as the development of a new intercontinental ballistic missile system.

In 2022, the North launched missiles, including ICBMs, a record 37 times, defying UN Security Council resolutions. Fears have increased that Pyongyang will conduct its seventh nuclear test in the near future, its first since September 2017.


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