North Korea's governing party is planning a congress in January to decide a new five-year plan, state media reported last month after a party meeting noted serious delays in improving the national economy and living standards.
The incident caused North Korea to lock down a border area, apparently due to concerns over the coronavirus. North Korea acknowledged that its troops killed him because he refused to answer questions and attempted to flee.
However, his brother said he had more likely fallen into the sea from a government inspection ship by accident. Among its violations, North Korea has developed ballistic missiles, retained nuclear facilities, imported large quantities of refined petroleum, exported coal, and even imported luxury items like foreign automobiles and alcohol.
Already weighed down by tough global sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, Pyongyang is also facing significant economic damage from strict border closures and other measures aimed at preventing a coronavirus outbreak and struggling to cope with damage from recent storms and flooding.
He cited intelligence showing North Korea knew the man's name, age, height and hometown as an evidence of his communication with the North.
Kim's remarks also come after South Korean President Moon Jae-in, in his own speech at the United Nations meeting last week, proposed declaring an official end to the Korean War, which he said would provide a security guarantee that Pyongyang has long sought.
The official had been aboard a government inspection ship before he disappeared on September 21 and was killed by North Korean troops the next day.
Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said the politburo could have discussed the shooting and replaced those responsible, in a bid to end the controversy before the anniversary.
In recent weeks, state media said Pyongyang had discovered "mistakes" in its efforts to fight COVID-19, and Kim offered a rare apology for the killing of a South Korean official in the waters off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula.
China's policy was broadly supportive of USA policy of maximum pressure and engagement when the negotiations between America and North Korea were moving forward, as nuclear proliferation in North Korea is a direct threat to China's security and stability.
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