North Korea plans crackdown as Kim pushes for internal unity

North Korea plans crackdown as Kim pushes for internal unity

North Korea plans crackdown as Kim pushes for internal unity

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his top deputies have urged a crackdown on officials who abuse their power and commit other “faulty and non-revolutionary acts,” state media reported Monday. while Kim strives for more internal unity to overcome a COVID-19 outbreak and economic difficulties.

It was not clear what specific acts were mentioned at Sunday’s meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party. But possible state action against such alleged acts could be an attempt to cement Kim’s control over his people and get them to rally behind his leadership in the face of domestic hardships, some observers say.

Kim and other senior party secretaries discussed “intensifying the fight against unsound and non-revolutionary acts, including abuse of power and bureaucratism exposed among some party officials,” the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

Kim ordered to strengthen the authority of the Party Control Commission and other local discipline oversight systems to promote the party’s “monolithic leadership” and “the party’s broad political activities through its strong discipline system,” KCNA said.

Kim has occasionally called for a fight against “antisocialist practices” at home in the past two years amid outside concerns about his country’s fragile economy battered by pandemic-related border closures, UN sanctions and his own mismanagement.

The heightened restrictions on movement in the north in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak could put even more pressure on the country’s economic difficulties, some experts say.

North Korea admitted on May 12 that the ommicron strain of the coronavirus had infected people, then went on to say that about 4.5 million people — more than 17% of the 26 million people — have fallen ill with a fever and that only 72 have died. Foreign experts widely doubt that the outbreak was North Korea’s first, and they believe that the statistics revealed in state media have been manipulated to avoid political harm to Kim, while strengthening internal controls and enhancing his leadership. is promoted.

At a Workers’ Party conference last week, Kim claimed the pandemic situation has passed the “serious crisis” stage and ordered officials to “fix the shortcomings and evils in anti-epidemic work” and take steps to address the anti-epidemic crisis. to build up the country’s epidemic. pandemic capability.