N Korea: Leader scolds 'inaccurate' weather forecasters

Kim Jong-un at the weather centre

Weather forecasters in North Korea have found themselves on the end of a rare public telling-off by the country's leader, it appears.

Kim Jong-un says there have been "many incorrect forecasts" because the Hydro-meteorological Service's methods aren't "modern or scientific", state newspaper Rodong Sinmun reports. The dressing-down, during a so-called "field guidance visit" to the weather centre, has also been aired on state television.

The North Korean leader says weather service staff must "fundamentally improve their work", because good forecasts are needed to "protect the lives and properties of the people from disasters caused by abnormal climatic phenomenon", according to the newspaper.

Guidance visits, where the North Korean leader appears at a factory, military unit or place of work to offer advice, usually involve glowing praise, with a smiling leader posing for photographs with workers and officials. On a recent visit to a water slide factory, Kim Jong-un said the work shows "nothing is impossible" in North Korea.

Criticism of officials during these visits is extremely rare - the last time this happened was in May 2012, when Kim was disappointed by a trip to a Pyongyang theme park.

North Korea's planting and harvest seasons are often at the mercy of drought or typhoon. In May, state media reported that drought damaged "several thousand hectares" of wheat, barley and potato across the country. An earlier drought in February was described by state news agency KCNA as the driest in over 50 years.

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