North Korea leader Kim Jong Un chairs meeting on corruption, abuse of power by party officials

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un chaired a meeting to discuss corruption and abuses of power by ruling party officials.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un chaired a meeting to discuss corruption and abuses of power by ruling party officials.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has presided over a top-level meeting to discuss corruption and abuses of power by ruling party officials, state media said on Thursday (Feb 4).

In an unusual acknowledgement of systemic problems within the Worker's Party of Korea (WKP), the meeting identified a series of issues that needed urgent attention, the North's official KCNA news agency said.

"It criticised mainly the practices of seeking privileges, misuse of authority, abuse of power and bureaucratism manifested in the party," it said.

Solutions for "overcoming" such challenges were put forward, the agency said, without elaborating.

The meeting brought together members of the WKP's central committee and those of another senior party committee that deals with military affairs.

Mr Kim opened the meeting and made a closing address, KCNA said.

Corruption is believed to be endemic to nearly every stratum of North Korean society, where bribes are often required for everything from career advancement to access to basic foods and medicine.

Last year, North Korea was ranked bottom - with Somalia - in the annual Corruption Perception Index compiled by Transparency International, which described the North's showing as "predictably disastrous".

The North Korean media offers little coverage of corruption as a general issue, only raising it in individual cases, such as the 2013 purge of Mr Kim's powerful uncle Jang Song Thaek.

Jang was vilified as a corrupt, drug-taking womaniser bent on building his own faction in the ruling party.