Kim Jong Un Tells Party to Improve North Korea's 'Food, Clothing and Housing' Issues

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pushed for more effort to combat the "unprecedented difficulties" of harsh food and living situations during a speech for the 76th anniversary of the Workers' Party in Pyongyang on Sunday, the Associated Press reported..

Kim confirmed plans to initiate a five-year plan to recover "the national economy and solving the people's food, clothing and housing problems," according to Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The agency said Kim described the current state of the country as a "grim situation," and admitted past economic plans had not succeeded.

Kim said his party is determined to reach the economic goals in the newly issued development plans for the next five years and recover from the current "unprecedented difficulties," according to the KCNA.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Kim Jong Un calls for new economicplan
Kim Jong Un called on party leaders to improve North Korea’s food, clothing and housing issues. In this photo provided by the North Korean government, on October 10, 2021, Kim (center) delivers a speech during an event to celebrate the 76th anniversary of the country’s Workers' Party in Pyongyang. Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service/Associated Press

But state media didn't mention any specific comments toward Washington and Seoul while reporting on Kim's speech.

Nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled for more than two years over disagreements in exchanging the release of crippling U.S.-led sanctions against North Korea and the North's denuclearization steps.

The country has ramped up its missile testing activity in recent weeks while making conditional peace offers to Seoul, reviving a pattern of pressuring South Korea to get what it wants from the United States.

Analysts say Kim is facing perhaps the toughest moment of his near decade in power. He failed to win badly needed sanctions relief in his summitry with then-President Donald Trump in 2018 and 2019, then the coronavirus pandemic caused North Korea to close its borders and unleashed further economic shock after decades of mismanagement and sanctions over Kim's nuclear weapons program.

The World Health Organization said last week some of its COVID-19 medical supplies had arrived at a North Korea port, an indication the North was easing one of the world's strictest pandemic border closures to receive outside help.

Kim has so far rejected President Joe Biden's administration's offers to restart dialogue without preconditions, saying that Washington must first abandon its "hostile policy," a term the North mainly uses to refer to sanctions and U.S.-South Korea military exercises.

But the North in recent weeks have also restored communication lines with the South and said it could take further steps to improve bilateral relations if Seoul abandons its "double-dealing attitude" and "hostile viewpoint."

Analysts say North Korea is using the South's desire for inter-Korean engagement to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul and to pressure the South to extract concessions from the Biden administration on its behalf.

Kim Jong Un calls for new economicplan
Kim Jong Un called on party leaders to improve North Korea’s food, clothing and housing issues. In this photo provided by the North Korean government, on October 10, 2021, Kim (center) delivers a speech during an event to celebrate the 76th anniversary of the country’s Workers' Party in Pyongyang. Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service/Associated Press