Kim Jong-un Sacks Economic Officials in Massive Reshuffle

  • By Kim Myong-song

    January 19, 2021 13:34

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has fired six of eight vice premiers in charge of the economy and 21 of 45 minister-level officials.

    The massive reshuffle was rubberstamped by the Supreme People's Assembly, according to the official [North] Korean Central News Agency on Monday.

    The sacked officials apparently had to take the fall for the failure of the last five-year economic plan, which was so dismal that Kim had to apologize for it in an address to a Workers Party congress earlier this month.

    North Korea's one-time No. 2 Choe Ryong-hae (center) speaks at the Supreme People's Assembly in Pyongyang on Jan. 17, in this grab from the [North] Korean Central News Agency.

    North Korean Prime Minister Kim Tok-hun also pointed out serious failings in the implementation of the five-year plan.

    "We have fallen short of our goals in nearly all sectors of the people's economy," he said, echoing Kim Jong-un.

    Yet the regime did not increase the economic budget for this year significantly, indicating just how dire its finances are amid international sanctions and the total border lockdown. It increased by only 0.6 percent, compared to a 4.9-6.2 percent increase in the past three years.

    The military budget has not increased, but it is already vast at 15.9 percent of the entire budget.

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