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North Korea fears decline in party loyalty amid COVID recession

Kim Jong Un speaks of 'Arduous March' in reference to 1990s famine

Members of the Workers' Party of Korea gather at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang on Nov. 20, 2020.   © Kyodo

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hinted last week that the isolated nation's economy has been battered by the pandemic, resulting in a potential decline in loyalty to the party.

"I made up my mind to ask the WPK [Workers' Party of Korea] organizations at all levels ... to wage another more difficult 'Arduous March 'in order to relieve our people of the difficulty, even a little," Kim said in a speech at the Sixth Conference of Party Cell Secretaries.

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