N. Korea discusses follow-up measures to improve regional economy

SEOUL, North Korea's provincial committees have discussed measures to carry out the national policy of developing regional economies, state media said Tuesday, amid worsening inequality in the North's capital and rural areas. The respective committees held enlarged plenary meetings to discuss measures to "establish realistic goals corresponding to regional traits" and "improve provincial economy in multilateral and distinctive ways," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. During the meeting, the committees touched on laying out detailed tasks for the goal, as well as plans to foster technicians and procure raw materials for regional industrial plants, the KCNA said. North Korea has been focusing on developing the economy in areas outside of Pyongyang after leader Kim Jong-un vowed to build modernized factories in 20 counties over the next decade to raise the "basic material and cultural living standards of the people." Last month, the country formed a committee led by Jo Yong-won, secretary for orga nizational affairs in the ruling Workers' Party and a key aide of leader Kim, to oversee the plan. South Korea's unification ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs has assessed the recent emphasis on regional development as an effort to tackle the widening economic gap between Pyongyang and backward provinces amid prolonged economic difficulties. Source: Yonhap News Agency