SEOUL, South Korea – Many people around the world grumble about inaccurate weather forecasts, but North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is doing something about it.
Kim, the third generation of his family to rule, is using his position atop the authoritarian country to warn meteorologists against the "many incorrect forecasts" caused by old observation systems.
It remains to be seen whether Kim's field guidance trip to the state-run Hydro-Meteorological Service, reported by state media Tuesday, will lead to more accurate weather predictions. But it was a rare official acknowledgment by proud but impoverished North Korea of its struggles with outdated technology.
It's also a reflection of Kim's stated objective of improving the economy and public livelihood. Another main objective is building more nuclear weapons, which has drawn international condemnation and stern economic sanctions.
The country's frequent natural disasters, like droughts and flooding, are believed to have worsened chronic food shortages.
Kim, who took power after the December 2011 death of his father, Kim Jong Il, was said by state media to have toured forecasting, communications and satellite rooms "to learn in detail about meteorological observation and weather forecast."
Kim said there had been "many incorrect forecasts as the meteorological observation has not been put on a modern and scientific basis," according to the official Korean Central News Agency. He added that the country needed proper meteorological observations in order to protect people and property from disaster.