SEOUL, South Korea — Back in 2016, North Korea’s freshly minted leader, Kim Jong-un, held the country’s first ruling Workers’ Party’s congress in three decades and laid out an ambitious five-year economic plan to build what he called a “great socialist country” by 2020.

On Thursday, he admitted that the plan had failed.

One calamity after another has hit North Korea since 2016. Led by the United States, the United Nations Security Council imposed devastating economic sanctions to retaliate against the North for its pursuit of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles. Then came the global coronavirus pandemic, followed by massive flood damage because of torrential rain.

Mr. Kim now plans to chart a new course.

North Korea on Thursday announced plans to hold a rare Workers’ Party congress

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