SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has urged for the arrest of officials who abuse power or commit other "unsound, non-revolutionary acts," according to state media reports Monday. This is in response to Kim's desire to build internal unity and overcome economic problems and COVID-19.
It was not clear which acts were mentioned at Sunday's Workers' Party meeting. Some observers believe that the state's possible crackdowns on these alleged acts may be an attempt to consolidate Kim's control over his people and to get them to support his leadership during the domestic hardships.
Kim and other top party secretaries discussed "waging an intensified struggle against unsound, non-revolutionary actions including abuse of power or bureaucratism discovered among some party officials," according to the Korean Central News Agency.
Kim directed that the party's auditing committee and other local discipline supervision system be strengthened to support the party's "monolithic leader" and the "wide political activities of party through the strong discipline," KCNA stated.
Kim has called for the suppression of "anti-socialist practices" in his home country over the past two decades amid concerns about his fragile economy, which has been hampered by U.N sanctions and border closures related to pandemics.
Experts believe that the North's increased restrictions on movement following the COVID-19 epidemic could put additional strain on the country’s economic problems.
On May 12, North Korea admitted that the coronavirus omicron had infected it. It has since said that 4.5 million people have been ill, more than 17% of its 26million population. Only 72 people have died. Experts from abroad doubt that the outbreak in North Korea was the first. They believe the state media statistics are being manipulated to protect Kim's political reputation and promote his leadership.
Kim stated that the pandemic situation had reached the "serious crisis" stage. He ordered officials to correct "the weaknesses and evils in anti-epidemic efforts" and to improve the country's antipandemic capabilities.