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N.K. media stress economic achievements as leader aims to build strong economy
SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's state-controlled news outlets stepped up their efforts to highlight various economic achievements as the country's leader called for the building of a strong economy, media reports picked up in Seoul said Monday.

   Kim Jong-un said in his New Year's message that his country should become an economic powerhouse and emphasized the need for all people to rally behind this cause. He urged mobilization of the ruling party, country and people to improve productivity.


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers his New Year message (Yonhap file photo)

Korean Central Broadcasting Station, a radio station that targets North Koreans, claimed revolutionary changes in iron ore production, via cooperation of workers that could help raise the daily output by 120 percent at a mine in Musan.

   Musan, in South Hamgyeong Province, is home to one of the largest iron ore deposits in the communist country and has drawn investment from a Chinese company.

   The broadcaster also said innovative processes have been made in the two large steel mills.
Another media outlet, Radio Pyongyang, reported on successes made by a construction cooperative in North Pyeongan Province and a tidal flat reclamation work underway along the Yellow Sea coast.

   In regards to the reclamation project, the radio station said a long sea wall measuring several kilometers had been successfully built due to the dedication and the fighting spirit of workers.

   Other news agencies such as Uriminzokkiri, North Korea's main Internet-based media, said soldiers and government officials have been able to produce substantial quantities of calcium hydroxide needed for the improvement of arable land.

   North Korean analysts in the South said the sudden increase in reports and use of words such as "mobilization of all resources" may be a move by Pyongyang and Kim to use the country's manpower resources to invigorate its backward economy that is hard pressed to feed its people without outside assistance.

   Meanwhile, newspapers such as the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, started to highlight the "swiftness" of the armed forces in achieving goals, particularly in regards to various economic projects involving troops.

   In an article, the newspaper mentioned that soldiers achieved great success in a land reclamation project in Gangwon Province on the east coast by completing the task at lightning speed.

   The emphasis on swiftness, moreover, may be a sign that the slogan will mark incumbent leaders' key position towards the military.

   During the time when Kim's father, Kim Jong-il, was in power, the military's slogan was "revolutionary martial spirit" that saturated all media broadcasts and showed the aggressive stance of the leader.

   The possible switch in the slogan, is seen by some as Kim Jong-un's attempt to slowly shed the legacies of his father and start afresh. It can also mean that the power transition between father and son is moving forward smoothly.

   The present leader took over power after the sudden death of his father in Dec. 2011. He is also the grandson of Kim Il-sung, who founded the country following Japanese colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula (1910-1945) and died in 1994.