February 17, 2019 | 10:40 pm PT

N. Korea faces 'historic turning point,' says state media ahead of summit

N. Korea faces 'historic turning point,' says state media ahead of summit
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump are due to meet for a second time in late February. Photo by AFP/Saul Loeb

North Korea is facing a "significant, historic turning point," state media said on Monday, ahead of the second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

The highly-anticipated meeting between the two leaders -- which will be the second time the pair have come together following their Singapore summit in June -- is scheduled for Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27-28.

Attention has been focused on whether the U.S. team will offer to lift some economic sanctions on North Korea, in return for Pyongyang taking concrete steps toward denuclearisation.

"It is time for us to tighten our shoe strings and run fast, looking for a higher goal as we face this decisive moment," the Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in an editorial.

"Our country is facing a significant, historic turning point," it added, without explicitly referencing the summit.

Earlier this month, U.S. President Trump tweeted that North Korea will become a "great Economic Powerhouse" under Kim.

"He may surprise some but he won't surprise me, because I have gotten to know him & fully understand how capable he is," said Trump.

The Rodong Sinmun commentary called on North Koreans to make greater efforts to boost the country's economy.

North Korea is rising as a "strong, socialist nation," and one's true act of patriotism begins at one's workplace, the commentary added.

"Each and every product should be made to make our country shine."

North Korea, which holds most of the peninsula's mineral resources, was once wealthier than the South, but decades of mismanagement and the demise of its former paymaster the Soviet Union have left it deeply impoverished.

In 2017 the UN Security Council banned the North's main exports -- coal and other mineral resources, fisheries and textile products -- to cut off its access to hard currency in response to Pyongyang's pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.