Kim lashes out against illegal trade practices

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Kim lashes out against illegal trade practices

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, left, delivers his speech at a national meeting of light industry workers in Pyongyang with his aunt and guardian, Kim Kyong-hui, on his left. The aunt had not made a public appearance for more than three weeks, raising speculation that she could have been ill. [Rodong Sinmun]

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un convened a national meeting of light industry workers in Pyongyang on Monday, saying they should end the entrenched practice in the industry of illegally trading products.

“Our great general [Kim Jong-il] said the power of our heavy industry should be reflected in the lives of people,” he said.

“So he allocated [profits from] some mines, factories and enterprises in Tanchon district and supported the living expenses of people. He also redeveloped the mines and firms in the district and even constructed the Tanchon port.”

Kim also implored them to improve their productivity.

At the meeting, the first of its kind in almost 10 years, the young leader emphasized banning the use of imported products and encouraged workers to work more efficiently.

“Now the factories of light industry can’t follow the legacy of our great general [Kim Jong-il] about improving their production,” Kim said, quoted by the ruling Workers’ Party’s Rodong Sinmun yesterday. “We should be thoroughly wary of the mind-set to neglect the quality of products and only focus on quantity.

“The cultural and living standards of our people are growing higher every day,” he added. “We don’t need poor-quality products, no matter how many of them you produce.”

Kim said one of the biggest problems facing North Korean light industry was “the heavy reliance on imports of raw materials,” the newspaper said.

He also pointed out that the “defeatist attitude” of North Korean workers is pervasive and that they are just importing equipment from overseas, not inventing it by themselves.

“The biggest problem is our workers don’t feel grave responsibility for their poor business sectors and don’t make an effort because of a defeatist attitude,” he said.

A high-ranking official at South Korea’s Unification Ministry told reporters yesterday that the Tanchon region is known for its vast reserves of magnesite and zinc and it has been developed since Kim Jong-il’s rule.

Yun Duk-min, a professor at the state-run Institute for Foreign Affairs and National Security, said “Kim accomplished one of his goals, which is turning North Korea into a nuclear-armed country. Now he has another goal, becoming an economic superpower.”


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]
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