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N. Korea’s parliament meets in effort to build ‘socialist fairyland’

SEOUL — North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament convened this week to pass legislation aimed at turning the country into a “beautiful and civilized socialist fairyland,” state media reported on Thursday.

The North Korean Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) met for its first session on Wednesday, and adopted laws on landscaping and rural development, state news agency KCNA reported.

The two laws will help advance the ruling party’s efforts to bring about “a radical turn in the rural community and its policy on landscaping to achieve a rapid development of the Korean-style socialist rural community and spruce up the country into a beautiful and civilized socialist fairyland,” KCNA said, citing a deputy’s speech to the gathering.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who did not attend the session, has vowed to improve people’s livelihoods and boost rural development amid spiralling economic crises caused by self-imposed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdowns, international sanctions over the country’s nuclear weapons program, and natural disasters.

Many of Mr. Kim’s economic promises have yet to be fulfilled, analysts say, and aid organizations have warned of rampant food shortages and other hardships.

According to a report last month by 38 North, a US-based site that monitors North Korea, Mr. Kim’s vow to rebuild a typhoon-ravaged province in the country’s North and transform it into a “model” mining community has made little progress.

The United States has accused Kim of pouring resources into military projects at the expense of the country’s people. It said this week Russia had approached North Korea about buying ammunition, potentially providing a windfall for the cash-strapped government in Pyongyang. Russia said the US report was “fake.” — Reuters

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