North Korea's Kim Jong Un admitted that his five-year economic plan failed to meet its goals "on almost every sector", state media reported on Wednesday.
Kim made his speech in a rare political gathering with the ruling Worker's Party.
First, he praised the country's "miraculous victory" of bolstering its power, referring to a series of meetings with U.S President Donald Trump and successful intercontinental ballistic missile tests in 2017, weapons capable of striking the U.S.
But Kim then changed tone and admitted that the economic strategy due last year, "tremendously fell short of its goals."
The plan called for accelerating economic growth and expanding domestic sources of energy, including nuclear power, to boost supply of electricity.
By openly admitting some of his failures - once a taboo in a country that praises an errorless, godlike leader - Kim continues to try to build his profile as a "man of the people."
On the pandemic, Kim lauded party workers for ensuring "stable situations against the coronavirus", yet the country has not officially confirmed any coronavirus infections. No one was seen wearing a mask at the congress and did not sit apart.
The talks are being closely watched by South Korea, as it hopes to improve inter-Korean relations and have drawn international attention as Kim is expected to unveil a new five-year plan.