FILE - In this July 27, 2013 file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leans over a balcony and waves to Korean War veterans cheering below at the end of a mass military parade on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice. North Korea’s announcement that it is mass producing a home-grown smartphone has been met with skepticism in the tech industry. The North’s state media early August, 2013, showed leader Kim Jong Un inspecting “Arirang” phones at a Pyongyang factory. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

 

Seoul - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has censured his country's weather service for “incorrect” forecasts in a rare public dressing down of a government body in the reclusive nation, which suffers regular natural disasters.

Kim criticised the science used in observations and called for the use of modern equipment in the unusual rebuke, which came during an inspection of the Hydro-meteorological Service, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Tuesday.

“There are many incorrect forecasts as the meteorological observation has not been put on a modern and scientific basis,” Kim said, urging the agency to “fundamentally” improve its work and equipment.

Accurate forecasts are needed to protect the “lives and properties” of people from disasters caused by “abnormal climatic phenomenon”, he said.

Calling the weather service “very important work directly affecting the overall economic affairs”, Kim also underscored the need to “modernise meteorological observation equipment at a high level”, KCNA said.

It was not clear when Kim visited the agency, but public criticism of government officials during field trips by North Korean leaders is extremely rare.

Undated pictures released by KCNA showed Kim giving “field guidance” inside the weather service in the capital, some of his audience standing attentively with arms by the side.

North Korea has suffered regular chronic food shortages under the ruling Kim dynasty, with the situation exacerbated by floods, droughts and mismanagement.

In May, state media reported that North Korea was hit by its worst spring drought in more than three decades, threatening thousands of acres of staple crops.

During a famine in the mid to late-1990s, hundreds of thousands died. - Sapa-AFP