North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly has passed legislation aimed at converting the nation into a “beautiful and civilised socialist fairyland”.
The country’s rubber-stamp parliament convened on Wednesday to adopt two laws to improve landscaping and rural development, according to state news agency KCNA.
The laws are aimed at helping the nation’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un bring about “a radical turn” among the less developed rural communities of the hermit nation.
The landscaping policy will help in achieving “a rapid development of the Korean-style socialist rural community and spruce up the country into a beautiful and civilised socialist fairyland”, an assembly member told the gathering, according to state media.
The legislation was adopted days after Mr Kim vowed to improve the livelihoods of North Koreans affected by the economic crisis plaguing the nation in the wake of the Covid outbreak and a number of natural disasters.
International sanctions over Mr Kim’s nuclear ambitions, coupled with pandemic restrictions, have increased the risk of starvation in the country.
The West has accused Mr Kim of letting his citizens suffer while he directs resources into military projects. Washington this week claimed Russia had approached the North to buy ammunition in an effort to support the cash-strapped government.
Pyongyang dismissed the claims, calling the report “fake”.
A report by 38 North, a US-based site that monitors North Korea, stated Mr Kim’s vow to rebuild the Komdok province in the country’s north that was ravaged by Typhoon Maysak in 2020 and transform it into a “model” mining community has made little progress.
Meanwhile, American and South Korean officials are scheduled to meet next week to discuss “comprehensive measures” to deter North Korea in some of the highest-level talks between the countries in years.
The Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG), which includes vice-ministerial defence and diplomatic officials from both nations, plans to “discuss in depth comprehensive measures to deter North Korea”, the South Korean foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
The talks will include measures to “strengthen the effectiveness of extended deterrence in the face of the severe security situation on the Korean peninsula”.
It will be the group’s first meeting since 2018, when both countries began efforts to engage with North Korea diplomatically.
South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office in May, has vowed to boost his country’s military capabilities and strengthen what he calls “extended deterrence”.
Mr Yoon had previously extended an economic aid offer to the North in return for nuclear disarmament but said he would respond to Mr Kim’s provocations “sternly”.