NKorean leader calls for meeting to review battered economy

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has presided over a meeting of the ruling party in his first public appearance in about a month, and called for a larger political conference to discuss efforts to salvage a decaying economy. Kim said there was a need to correct “deflective matters” and called for a plenary meeting of the Workers’ Party’s Central Committee to review overall state affairs. While Kim said North Korea was continuing to face challenges, state media did not mention any comments he made toward the United States or South Korea. Kim’s appearance was the first time he showed himself in public since May 6. North Korea’s economy has deteriorated further amid pandemic border closures, which significantly reduced trade with China, its major ally.