May 19, 2024
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By Soo-Hyang Choi

SEOUL (Reuters), August 22, 2013 – North Korean President Kim Jong Un blasted top officials in the country for “irresponsible responses” to flooding damage. He said they had “spoiled” their nation’s economic situation, according to state media.

Kim inspected a tideland along the west coast of Korea on Monday. Seawater had recently flooded more than 560 hectares including 270 hectares worth of rice fields after destroying an embankment that lacked drainage.

Kim Tok Hun – the Premier of the Cabinet – was singled by Kim to be criticized for the “very irresponsible neglect” of their duties. Kim Tok Hun had inspected the destruction site “with an attitude of a spectator”.

In an English-language report, KCNA stated: “He claimed that in recent years, the Kim Tok Hun government’s economic and administrative discipline has gotten out of control more severely. As a result, idlers spoil all state economic efforts with their reckless work style.”

Kim stated, “This irresponsibility of government officials and their lack of discipline is mainly due to his feeble attitude towards work and incorrect viewpoint as premier of cabinet.”

North Korea’s leader visited the flood-affected farmlands this week, the latest of many inspections he has conducted amid increasing concerns of an impending food crisis.

Lim Eulchul is a professor in North Korean studies and a South Korean’s Kyungnam University. He said Kim’s criticisms were harsh, but could be a sign of a cabinet reshuffle. Lim also added that this shows how the economy does not develop as it should.

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Lim: “Kim appears furious that the national economy has not improved as much as Kim wants”, he said.

Food shortages have been a major problem in the North in recent years, with famines occurring in the 90s. These were often caused by natural disasters. The COVID-19 pandemic was a major factor in the worsening of food shortages, according to international experts.

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