At a rare political meeting Tuesday in North Korea, Kim Jong Un admitted his economic policies have almost entirely failed, the AP reports. On the first day of a congress for the ruling Workers' Party, the first in five years, the leader said his five-year economic development plan did not reach its goals "in almost all areas to a great extent." The Guardian reports the meeting is being closely observed for hints that the country might shift its economic policy. Its economy is in dire straits, even more so thanks to international sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic, which led the North to close its borders.
Kim said he had "analyzed the mistakes manifested in the efforts for implementing the five-year strategy for national economic development," and promised to "prevent" a repeat of "painful lessons" from the past. He called the five years since the last congress the "worst of the worst" and "unprecedented," per Al Jazeera. But he also touted a "miraculous victory" in the country since the last congress—the missile and nuclear tests that led to a launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking the US mainland in 2017. "The surest and fastest way to tackle the current multiple challenges facing us is to make every possible effort to strengthen our own power and our own self-reliant capacity," he said. (Read more Kim Jong Un stories.)