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Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently expressed discontent over the state of the country’s public health sector during a visit to a medical appliance factory, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Tuesday.
In comments made during an on-site inspection of the Myohyangsan Medical Appliances Factory in North Phyongan Province, Kim said the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) had provided “policies several times to remodel and modernize units” associated with public health.
In a Korean-language version of the report, the North Korean leader said “the public health sector has hibernated and seldom implemented the project of consolidating its maternal and technical foundations in recent years.”
“He cannot but be very concerned about and disappointed by the bad situation of the factory,” KCNA reported in an English-language version. “He could not understand whether the factory was under remodeling and modernization or not and what had been remodeled and modernized as he could not see any sign of remodeling though it has been two years since the Party gave an order to it.”
The DPRK leader was also reported to have criticized government organs, including the Central Committee of the WPK’s Organization and Guidance (OGD) and Science and Education Departments, for “not paying corresponding attention.”
“He said central Party apparatus have the wrong viewpoint and stance on the implementation of the Party’s policies,” KCNA reported. “He severely criticized them for not properly providing party and policy guidance.”
Kim was also reported to have “reprimanded” staff and officials at the factory for their management.
“It doesn’t seem like a medical factory, and it seems like a storage for agricultural machines if we say nicely. But, to be precise, it reminds me of a stable,” Kim said. “Modern medical instruments can never be produced with the environment and technology equipment at this level.”
Kim also criticised “the overall public health sector including the Medical Appliance Industrial Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Health for hibernating for a long time,” the article added.
“He said the public health sector has been shouting empty slogans while immuring itself up and hibernating for several years.”
The North Korean leader reportedly stressed the need to “make a decisive and fundamental change in the material and technical foundations of the public health sector,” vowing to personally involve himself in the work.
“Noting that he would personally shoulder the burden of the work of updating the factory, he detailed the orientation to carry out the tasks facing the relevant fields,” the English-language KCNA report said.
Kim has in recent months repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction over the poor management of several factories and rebuked staff and party officials for their work.
In July, he was reported to have been “extremely furious” with cabinet officials for their careless management during a visit to the site of the Orangchon Power Station, also calling out the Organization and Guidance Department, as well as the economic department of the Central Committee, as contributing to the problem.
Meanwhile, during a visit to the Chongjin Bag Factory, Kim reprimanded the local party committee for “working in a perfunctory manner while disregarding an important policy that should be prioritized.”
Earlier last month, the DPRK leader was said to have “strictly rebuked” staff for their work during a factory visit in Sinuiju.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: KCNA