(LEAD) N. Korean leader calls for boosting self-reliance at conference

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By Choi Soo-hyang
SEOUL, Nov. 19 (Yonhap) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called for strengthening the country’s self-reliance despite “immediate challenges,” including economic difficulties, during a conference on a mass movement aimed at developing its ideology, technology and culture, Pyongyang’s state media reported Friday.
Kim delivered the message in a letter to the participants at the 5th Conference of the Frontrunners of the Three Revolutions that kicked off in Pyongyang on Thursday, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
“The meaning of the three-revolution lies in strengthening independent power in the path to carrying out socialist tasks, breaking through unexpected challenges and hurdles,” he stressed.
The conference was attended by senior party officials and people “who are taking the lead in implementing the revolutions” to “share the successes and experience, and analyze and review the mistakes and lessons drawn in the course of the mass movement.”
In the letter, Kim articulated methods to carry out the development and rebuked people who are not making utmost efforts for the movement, “intimidated by immediate challenges, such as the economic difficulties,” the KCNA said.
“The tasks set forth by our party are vast, and challenges are piling up, but we cannot wait until all circumstances are met,” Kim was quoted as adding. “We need to undauntedly move forward along our development path with only our strength.”
The remarks came as North Korea has called for achieving economic development under a new five-year plan unveiled at the country’s eighth party congress in January, during which Kim admitted to a failure in his previous development plan amid crippling sanctions and a protracted border closure due to COVID-19.
After the leader’s letter was delivered, a senior party official, Ri Il-hwan, made a report on the movement and said the country’s technology development has “made headway” to a “higher level” to consolidate “the self-sustaining foundation of the national economy.”
The KCNA said a second-day session was to be held, though it remains unclear for how long the conference will continue.
This week’s event marks the second of its kind held under the current leader after the fourth conference took place in November 2015. The previous sessions were held in 1986, 1995 and 2006.

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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