North Korea leader, Kim Jong Un has said that the country is in its “worst-ever situation” amid the coronavirus lockdown and the sanctions-battered economy.

The state media quoted Kim saying this on Wednesday after experts warned that Kim is facing perhaps his toughest moment as he approaches a decade rule.

“Improving the people’s living standards … even in the worst-ever situation in which we have to overcome unprecedentedly numerous challenges depends on the role played by the cells, the grassroots organisations of the party,” he said during an opening speech at a meeting of the Workers’ Party’s cell secretaries on Tuesday.

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It was reported that 10,000 people participated in the conference, including party cell secretaries from various sectors – mainly “exemplary ones” from production sites – senior provincial party officials and chief secretaries of city party committees.

In his speech, Kim criticised the party’s grassroots units for unspecified “shortcomings” that should be immediately corrected to ensure the “healthy and sustainable” development of the party.

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He also enjoined the members to carry out the decisions made at a party congress in January, where he unveiled a new five-year plan and showed unusual candour by acknowledging that his initial plans to improve the economy were not succeeding.

It was at that same congress that the leader vowed to push his nuclear and ballistic missiles programmes despite United States-led sanctions.

Two massive ballistic missiles have been tested, according to reports. This comes as an affront to the US after a year-long pause from testing weapons.

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The economic setbacks have left Kim with nothing to show for his ambitious diplomacy with former US President Donald Trump, which collapsed over disagreements in lifting sanctions for the North’s denuclearisation steps.

In worsening ties, North Korea refused attempts of the US government to talk, insisting that Washington must, first, discard its “hostile” policies.

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