North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said the country is facing its "worst-ever situation" - as its economy struggles from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
He was speaking to thousands of grassroots members of his ruling party during a major political conference in the capital Pyongyang on Tuesday, the North's official Korean Central News Agency reported. He called on the Workers' Party's cell secretaries to do their part to remedy the situation.
"Improving the people's living standards... even in the worst-ever situation in which we have to overcome unprecedentedly numerous challenges depends on the role played by the cells, the grassroots organisations of the party," he said.
As he approached 10 years as ruler, experts say the North Korean leader is facing perhaps his toughest moment.
He further urged members to carry out the decisions made at a party congress in January, when he vowed to bolster his nuclear deterrent in face of US pressure and announced a new five-year national development plan.