North Korea Advocates for Economic Growth in Provincial Areas

SEOUL - North Korea has issued a call for the development of its provincial regions to enhance the living standards of residents outside its capital area. This initiative, announced on Monday, aims to address economic disparities between urban and rural areas in the country.

According to Yonhap News Agency, an article on the front page highlighted the urgency of this task, declaring the development of provincial economies an "important task" that demands immediate attention. The article's publication follows a directive from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who last week mandated the construction of modern factories in 20 regional counties annually for the next decade, as a means to improve the livelihood of the population.

Kimhwa County in Kangwon Province was presented as a successful example of regional economic development. The county, which had suffered significant damage from heavy rains in August 2020, has since been frequently featured in state media. This includes a report on Kim Jong-un's visit in October 2020, highlighting the county's recovery and development efforts. Products manufactured in Kimhwa County's factories have reportedly received positive feedback, demonstrating the potential benefits of such regional development initiatives.

The push for economic development in provincial regions coincides with North Korea's broader focus on economic revitalization and the empowerment of its Cabinet as the central entity for economic management. This strategic shift comes as the country faces critical challenges, including severe food shortages and economic hardships. Additionally, North Korea remains under stringent U.N. sanctions, which include a ban on exports of coal and other mineral resources, significantly limiting the country's access to hard currency.

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