DPRK launches all-out offensive to meet 2010 economic goals

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No.10-02-03-1

In order to meet this year’s economic goals, North Korean authorities are calling on the people to launch an “all-out offensive”. Day after day, North Korea media outlets are calling for “continuing reform” and “continuing improvements,” even introducing a new motivational song titled, “It’s a war of attack.”

The slogan “all-out offensive” is designed to encourage the people of North Korea to pour all efforts into attaining the best results in each area of the economy. It is not uncommon for the North to use military terms such as this to motivate its citizens for non-military mobilization drives.

According to the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the front page of the January 29 issue of the Rodong Sinmun carried an editorial titled, “Raise the fighting spirit of 10 million soldiers, and advance the all-out fighting spirit of this year,” while the second page of the same paper carried a political commentary titled, “Let’s practically demonstrate.”

The editorial called on citizens of the North to work toward improving the standard of living and improving the lives of the people, and stressed, “The on-going ideological campaign is an all-out offensive for remarkably increasing the speed of the advance for effecting a great surge with the might of the perfect unity of the leader and all the service personnel and people and a charge for giving fullest play to their mental power so that events adding luster to the era of Songun may take place one after another,” and, “The on-going general offensive is sure to triumph when all the people live and struggle as the brave, staunch and devoted vanguard in the advance for effecting a great surge.” On January 20 and 22, the same paper had run similar articles, calling for the “spirit of victors” and “marching forward as quickly as possible.”

That North Korean authorities have gone so far as to launch the song “It’s a war of attack” gives the impression that there is an air of urgency surrounding these ongoing efforts to mobilize the people. Also reflecting this urgency is the fact that this year, Kim Jong Il has carried out more public activities than during January 2009. As of January 26, Kim Jong Il had made 14 public appearances. This was 56% more than the first month of last year, during which Kim had made the most visits since launching the 1st Kim Jong Il regime in 1998.

Of those 14 appearances, 7 were on-site inspections of enterprises and other economic sites, while only 6 visits were military-related. The remaining visit was to the central court; There were no meetings with foreign dignitaries or other foreign diplomacy-related activities. One military-related visit of interest was to a self-sufficient pig farm run by the army. January’s visit was Kim’s third to the farm, where he advised managers to “raise more pigs and provide more pork and pork products to the soldiers,” an indirect reference to the seriousness of food shortages among the North’s military.


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