The end of ‘Songun’? Part II

Three weeks ago, the Daily NK specualted that preparations for North Korea’s political succession are leading to an end of “Songun” and a resurgence of the Korean Workers Party.  A recent story in the Donga Ilbo seems to be reinforcing this claim, noting that several assets in the military’s portfolio are being moved to various state institutions and ministries (where the Worker’s Party and probably Kim’s key supporters exercise more oversight).

Here is an excerpt from the story:

A knowledgeable source on North Korea said yesterday, “[Leader] Kim Jong Il has ordered the military to transfer its foreign operations to his cabinet and is implementing radical reform of military authorities.”

Kim ordered to reduce the number of executives and the size of the ruling Workers’ Party, government and military by 30 percent at the end of last year.

The source also said officers in the chain of command including the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, the National Security Council, the Ministry of State Inspection and the General Staff Department began retiring in January.

The North Korean leader is also reportedly streamlining troop distribution. The North’s Border Guard Brigade has removed regiments and the role of the minting agency has shrunk.

The Ministry of People’s Security, considered the North’s main police organization, is seeing its status rise. No longer under the control of the prosecution, the ministry can now probe corruption in the prosecution and civilian damage caused by the military.

An Anti corruption campaign and purges might also be a part of this transition.

Read the whole story here:
N.Korea Changing ‘Military-First’ Policy
Donga Ilbo
3/12/2008

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