Key Industrial Sectors Which Form Lifeline of National Economy

Metal Industry

The Report to the 8th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) stressed the need to better grasp the science and technology of the metal industry "to perfect our own system of iron making, expand its capacity and radically increase iron and steel production."

Existing metal production must be renovated through the building of new energy-saving blast furnaces in the major iron works and steel plants, and "to invigorate the production of iron ore and the use of brown coal in the northern areas for the production of pig iron."

Chemical Industry

Sunchon Phosphate Fertilizer Factory opened May 1, 2020 as part of the construction of a
new chemical industry base.

The chemical sector is considered a "core industry" and "lifeline for the construction of the self-supporting economy and the improvement of the people's standard of living."

The central task of the chemical industry "is to give precedence to building up our own technical forces, step up the improvement of its structure, and drastically increase the production of chemical goods necessary for the national economy and the improvement of the people's standard of living." The chemical industry must rely "on our own raw materials" and raise its scientific level to ensure it serves the aim of self-reliance.

Electricity Generation

Ryongson Youth Power Station

The production of electricity is key to economic self-reliance and to guarantee the stable development and growth of the national economy and the material and cultured standard of living for all. The electric power industry needs "to readjust and reinforce its production foundations as a whole and expand them." This includes "the construction of tidal power stations under long-term and medium-term strategies and launching in real earnest the founding of the nuclear power industry."


The Report "stressed the need to attach importance to the mining industry and shore it up for the sake of the normal development of the national economy. The basic task of the mining industry is to reinforce and expand production to meet the needs of the national economy for nonferrous metal and non-metallic minerals during the new five-year plan period."

Coal Industry

Due to the suffocating U.S. killer sanctions and blockade, the coal industry has become an important outpost of self-reliance in the DPRK, as it has plentiful internal supplies and extensive knowledge and experience of coal mining. The Report outlined a plan to propel forward "the work of intensively supplying equipment, materials, labour and funds to the coal industry, securing more coal faces by giving precedence to prospecting and tunnelling, putting efforts into the development of the soft coal industry, pushing forward the work of improving the working and living conditions of coal miners as a priority task for increased coal production and taking measures for the effective use of coal."

Machine Industry

Display of DPRK-produced farm equipment

The Report defined the machine industry as an important sector leading and propelling forward the overall economy and its many sectors. It demanded an intense examination of the current state and orientation of the machine industry. The aim is to change its direction to the creation and development of "modern and high-performance machine products including machine tools, vehicles, building machines, electric machines, mining machines and hydraulic machines."


Large-scale greenhouse production of produce

"The main targets set forth for the agricultural sector are matters of paramount importance for the state that must be attained whatever the cost in order to ensure self-sufficiency in food supply."

Samjiyon Potato Flour Factory

Kosan Fruit Processing Factory


The Report underlined the need for the forestry sector to strengthen its own material and technological foundations and satisfactorily meet the need of the national economy for timber while keeping in mind the balance of timber production and afforestation.

Tree nursery


The Report outlined targets to improve and modernize rail transport throughout the country ensuring its safe operation. The Pyongyang Metro received special attention with projects to update its operations and renovate its stations. A necessity exists throughout the country "to produce a larger number of means of public transport, including new-type subway trains, trolley buses, tramcars and buses" to make travel more convenient for people.

Pyongyang subway

Construction Sector

New housing built to replace areas damaged by typhoons

The construction sector is tasked with building more and better housing for the people to meet modern cultured living standards and "radically change the appearance of the country."

Two fronts exist simultaneously in the construction sector: "industrial construction for strengthening the economic foundations of the country, and construction to meet the material and cultural needs of the people."

Specifically, a goal is to construct 10,000 new flats a year in Pyongyang alone during each of the coming five years to meet the needs of its citizens. Another is immediately to build 25,000 houses in the Komdok mining area in the east. Komdok is a leading nonferrous mineral producer where a large contingent of workers lives. Last September 3, Typhoon Maysak hit Komdok causing catastrophic damage with floods and landslides. The plan is "to build Komdok into a mining city with no comparison in the world."

"The basic tasks facing the building materials industry during the new five-year plan period is to attain the goal of producing 8 million tons of cement and ensure self-sufficiency in finishing materials."

To achieve this goal the existing cement factories need renovation and "new large-capacity, up-to-date cement factories" must be built "in areas with favourable conditions for materials and electricity supply and transport."

Self-reliance in finishing materials is imperative to meet the large demand. Paints using locally available raw materials have to become more available along with roofing materials.

On the front of producing building materials, the plan is "to construct more zero-carbon and zero-energy buildings in keeping with the world trend in architectural development." The "provinces should produce various building materials in large quantities" that "rely on their locally available raw materials" giving rise to sizeable new value for reinvestment.


"The Report defined the fishing industry as one of the three fields directly related to the people's diet. The fishing industry should modernize fishing vessels and implements, put fishing on a scientific basis and build up fishery stations and ship repair yards. It is necessary to systematically increase seafood production by substantially conserving and propagating the nation's aquatic resources in a planned way and launching a mass drive for aquaculture."

The Report discussed other sectors such as communications with plans to update its infrastructure and "turn mobile communications into a next-generation one" to develop the conditions so "people in all parts of the country, ranging from cities to remote mountain villages can enjoy a better cultural and emotional life."

The discussion also dealt with problems and actions to be taken in state-run commerce, public catering and welfare services, and the tasks necessary to support the people and promote their material and spiritual well-being. The aim is to create "a new socialist service culture of our own style."

"The Report presented land management and ecological environment protection as important affairs for protecting the lives and health of the people and improving the landscape of the country." The plan is to make decisive progress in land development to preserve and protect the environment. Of importance is to grasp "through surveys the overall situation of the environment including forests; to deal with their seasonal and annual changes correctly and promptly; to enact laws and regulations for the protection of the land and environment and implement them strictly to prevent natural disasters through an intensified campaign of afforestation and water conservation; to make great efforts for road construction and management, and push ahead with eastern and western coastal improvement projects in a big way through national mobilization to protect the lives and safety of the people, conserve land, and spruce up the country's coastal areas as befits a maritime nation."

Fish farms are being developed throughout the country

Fish processing plant

Building City Infrastructure

Redevelopment of Ryomyong Street in Pyongyang

The Report stressed the importance of city management, which is directly related to the life of the people, and set forth relevant tasks dealing with housing, water, sewage treatment plants, and the prevention of environmental pollution, and to enhance landscaping of the cities and their parks and recreation grounds.


Yangdok Hotsprings resort

The Report raised the issue of boosting tourism so that people around the world can become better acquainted with Koreans and vice versa. Specifically it referenced the Mt Kumgang area, the Port of Kosong, the Pirobong mountaineering tourist area, and the Haegumgang coastal park and the necessity for new construction "in harmony with the beautiful scenery," which expresses "the emotional and aesthetic feelings of our people."

In sum, "the fundamental requirement and direction in improving the management of the socialist economy are to put the masses of the people, the masters of society, at the centre of all considerations and give priority to their demands and interests."

Dealing with the Relation Between Urban and Rural Life

Samjiyon has been redeveloped as a model city in the mountains

The Report discussed the necessity "to eliminate disparities between the working class and the peasantry, the gaps between industry and agriculture and differences between the urban and rural areas."

The general goal as defined in the Report is not to eliminate the distinct qualities of counties but in fact retain and develop their "inherent characteristics." The local economy is encouraged to use "the raw and other materials available to it in accordance with the regional characteristics" and for the people through "the Party committees and People's committees to become a powerful engine propelling the development of their regions, the master of the local economy and administrator responsible for the livelihood of the people in their regions."

National Defence

Soldiers assist in reconstruction of housing after recent natural disasters

The discussion on the economy dealt with the reality that investment must be set aside for national defence. "As long as imperialism remains on the earth and the danger of war of aggression by the hostile forces against our state remains, the historic mission of our revolutionary armed forces can never be changed and our national defence capability must be steadily bolstered along the track of new development."

The Report makes the sober assessment that the armed forces of the U.S. imperialists still occupy the south of their country and have numerous military bases throughout Japan and the Pacific Ocean armed with the most advanced weaponry including nuclear bombs. Within this situation the defence industry must reaffirm its great tradition of self-reliance and capability and "rapidly advance the Korean People's Army from a conventional type into an elite hi-tech one by developing military science and technology and inventing more advanced weapons and combat equipment." The primary target of the defence sector must be to make "military equipment intelligent, high-performing, precise, unmanned and light."

As always, the task of defence of the country can only be accomplished with the mass mobilization of the people to prepare to resist the invaders and drive them from Korea. The "all-people resistance" is "a matter of crucial importance that should never be neglected in firmly consolidating the national defence capability." The Report stresses that strengthening national defence is crucial "until the vicious cycle of the brink of war and detente, tension and dialogue is removed once and for all and such words as threat and blackmail by the hostile forces disappear from this land."

Science and Technology

Myohyangsan Medical Appliances Centre

The Report underscores the importance of developing "science and technology as a crucial task and an optimum policy in socialist construction." Goals have been set to advance science and technology in each sector of the economy "as well as the relevant ways and means to achieve that goal." Within this aim, all sectors will "share scientific research findings and vigorously push forward with the work of making all the people well versed in science and technology."

The Report raised the general goal to develop mass education to turn the people and country "into an educational power, a talent power, by bringing about radical improvement in education." Increased investments in education must be made at all levels including enhancing the abilities and level of teachers and furnishing the material requirements of education including new schools.

Increased investments must also be directed to public health to improve the quality of medical care and treatment. Again, self-reliance is key in providing the material means of health care including pharmaceuticals and hospital supplies and to "build up the ranks of medical workers and create a reliable anti-epidemic basis for coping with whatever world health crisis may erupt."

The Report also made serious analysis of the work in the field of art and literature, the media and sports, and set forth tasks to usher in a new era of efflorescence of all fronts in culture, sports and recreation.

Ryugyong Ophthalmic Hospital

(Information from the Report to the 8th Congress of the WPK and all quotations are from the joint KCNA/Chongnyon Chonwi article of January 9. Photos:  For the Peoples Wellbeing, Rodong Sinmun)

This article was published in

Volume 51 Number 5 - February 21, 2021    

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