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Tuesday, August 21, 2018, 10:03
DPRK's Kim criticizes his country's health sector
By Reuters
Tuesday, August 21, 2018, 10:03 By Reuters

In this undated photo provided on Aug 17, 2018, by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s government, DPRK leader Kim Jong-un visits the construction site of the Wonsan-Kalma coastal tourist area, Gangwon-do, DPRK. (KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY / KOREA NEWS SERVICE / AP)

SEOUL - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s leader Kim Jong-un took aim at his country's health sector, state media reported on Tuesday, the latest salvo of public criticism unleashed as part of his campaign to jumpstart economic development. 

Since a June summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore - where Kim lauded the city-state's economic progress and "world-class" amenities - the DPRK leader has been on a blitz of visits to various industrial sites and factories, often criticizing sluggish development. 

Kim strongly condemned the lack of visible modernization at the Myohyangsan Medical Appliances Factory and promised personal attention to the work of updating the factory, KCNA said 

During a visit to the Myohyangsan Medical Appliances Factory in North Phyongan province northeast of the capital Pyongyang, Kim strongly condemned the lack of visible modernization at the factory, state media outlet KCNA said on Tuesday. 

Saying "there is nothing to be proud of in the public health sector," Kim promised personal attention to the work of updating the factory in keeping with the goal to "radically" improve "domestic production, automation and modernization," KCNA said. 

In another site inspection to Samjiyon, a northern county near China, Kim criticized poor workmanship on a railway to the border with China to be completed next year, calling for even roadbeds, accident-free construction and increased electricity production, according to a KCNA report on Sunday. 

After launching a number of ballistic missiles last year - including one believed to be capable of striking anywhere in the United States - Kim has since suspended his testing programmes and embarked on an effort to spur economic development in his politically and economically isolated country. 

The DPRK argues that its move to end missile and nuclear weapons testing should be acknowledged by easing international sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council and a number of countries because of the weapons programmes. 

READ MORE: DPRK says demonstrating good faith, urges US to drop sanctions

During a recent trip to Wonsan, Kim said the ongoing construction of a coastal tourist area there represented "an acute standoff with hostile forces trying to stifle the Korean people through brigandish sanctions and blockade," describing the construction as "a do-or-die struggle" in "such a difficult time as now," KCNA reported last week. 

To press DPRK to give up its nuclear and missile programmes, the UN Security Council banned DPRK's sale of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood in a bid to slash by a third the country's US$3 billion annual export incomes, while capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products. 

The United States, which has led the sanctions campaign, has also stepped up its own sanctions on DPRK, and says it won't ease pressure until DPRK gives up its nuclear weapons.

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