Archive for the ‘Kim’s New Year Address (Joint editorials)’ Category

2011 Joint editorial collection

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Naenara has posted a summary of the DPRK’s annual joint editorial. You can read it in English here.  You can read it in Korean here.

For those of you unable or unwilling to access the Naenara web page, I created a PDF document which you may access here (English) and here (Korean)

Below I will maintain an updated list of media stories that cover the joint editorial.

Pictured above: Propaganda posters that “encourage the popular masses to carry out the militant tasks set forth in the joint New Year editorial” (KCNA)

Report 7 from IFES:

DPRK New Year’s Joint Editorial emphasizes light industry for improving the lives of the people
NK Brief No. 11-01-05-2
(1/5/2010)

In North Korea’s 2011 New Year’s Joint Editorial, the main theme was again the development of light industry in order to improve the lives of the people, just as last year, and emphasis was placed on Party leadership, self-reliance, and the principles of socialist economic management. Under the slogan, “Let’s bring about a decisive turn in the improvement of the people’s standard of living and the building of a great, prosperous and powerful country by accelerating the development of light industry once again this year,” light industry and quality of life improvements were again highlighted as part of the advance toward the 2012 goal of opening the doors to a Strong and Prosperous Country, but this issue was only lightly touched upon.

On the other hand, considerable space was allotted to the section on inter-Korean relations. Inter-Korean dialog and cooperation were emphasized, and the editorial positively evaluated its efforts toward unification, stating that “Last year our nation’s movement for the country’s reunification made dynamic progress even in the face of the vicious challenges of the separatist forces inside and outside.” In 2010, the Joint Editorial was more pessimistic, calling South-North relations “aggravated” by vicious maneuvers of “splittist forces.” This year, the editorial called for “all Koreans in the north, south and abroad join efforts and bring a new phase of independent reunification!” Under this slogan, Pyongyang appeared to take a very positive stance, citing the need to east tensions between the two Koreas, to remove the danger of war and safeguard peace, and to proactively promote dialogue and cooperation.

Under the banner of ‘national prosperity’, the article emphasized creating an atmosphere of dialog and cooperation between the two Koreas, and highlighted the need to diffuse the situation that the Lee Myung-bak government drove “to the brink of war.” Despite the Cheonan and Yeonpyeong Island incidents, the North maintained a consistent effort to reopen Keumgang Mountain tourist resort and other steps to repair inter-Korean relations. For North Korea, a tense military atmosphere between the two Koreas is not helpful in its bid to successfully reach its goal of a Strong and Prosperous Country by 2012 by building an economically strong state. Pyongyang also needs to manage relations with Seoul in order to improve relations with the United States and others.

The editorial calls for bringing about “a decisive turn in the improvement of the people’s standard of living and the building of a great, prosperous and powerful country,” and launching “an all-out, vigorous offensive for a breakthrough to realize the wish of the President to build a prosperous country, and thus greet the centenary of his birth as the greatest holiday of Kim Il Sung’s nation and a great event of humankind,” setting 2012 as the goal for opening the doors to a Strong and Prosperous Country. The editorial emphasized that “this year’s general offensive is a continuation of the grand onward march for improving the people’s standard of living, and its new, higher stage,” and is Party policy that “the improvement of the people’s standard of living should be regarded as the most important issue, the highest goal of its struggle, and carried through to the end.”

In the 2010 New Year’s Joint Editorial, Party policy was described as it’s “steadfast determination and resolve to have our people, who have weathered difficult hardships following the party, enjoy being blessed with socialism to their hearts’ content by having the achievements of the great upswing actually be allotted to the people, and to blossom into reality, without fail, the sublime intent and desires of the fatherly leader, who dedicated his entire life to the people.” This year, “light industry is the major front in the general offensive,” while “light industry and agriculture [were] the main fronts of the struggle” in 2010.

Regarding light industry, the editorial emphasized, “The sector of light industry should pay first and foremost attention to making the factories and enterprise . . . keep their production running at a high level,” and that they “should focus on the production of primary consumer goods and other necessities widely used in life, and expand and augment the overall production of other consumer goods.”

The economic section mentioned coal, electricity, iron and steel, as well as transportation as four vanguard industries, emphasized improvements in light and chemical industry, and said that “the agricultural front is the lifeline for solving the problem of people’s living.” The editorial also states, “Breaking through the cutting edge that all sectors should surpass in the shortest time the scientific and technical standards the world has reached,” on the basis of self-reliance and the principles of socialist economic management. The section would lead one to believe that North Korea needs Chinese-style reforms in order to develop its economy, yet it bases these campaigns on self-reliance and the socialist principles of “strict discipline . . . in planning, finance and labour administration.”

This year, North Korea’s New Year’s Joint Editorial continues to push for light industrial development in order to improve the lives of the people and open the doors to a Strong and Prosperous Country in 2012. However, now, after hammering out public financing during last year’s Party conference, the Party is reaffirming that development will be on the basis of “our-style” of reform.

Report 6 from KCNA: The Pyongyang rally has been posted to YouTube.

Report 5 in Yonhap:

About 100,000 North Koreans gathered Monday in Pyongyang to show support for their country’s economic push outlined in a New Year’s message, holding high the portraits of their leader Kim Jong-il and his late father, the communist state’s official media said.

The scene marks the latest in a series of mass rallies the North has organized nationwide since a joint press editorial on Jan 1. called for the revival of light industries ahead of a landmark year.

North Korea has designated 2012 as a moment in its history to rise as a “powerful, great and prosperous country.” The year marks the centennial birthday of Kim Jong-il’s father, Kim Il-sung, and analysts say the regime appears to be trying to improve people’s living standards in a bid to create a mood favorable for its second hereditary power succession underway in Pyongyang.

“Slogan boards were set up at the site of the rally, saying hurray to the revolutionary ideas of Great President Kim Il-sung and Dear Leader Kim Jong-il,” the Korean Central TV said.

Since his death in 1994, Kim Il-sung, who founded the country, has assumed the post of “Eternal President.” The impoverished North runs a massive cult of personality around the Kim family. Kim Jong-il is now grooming his third son, Kim Jong-un, as his successor.

The rally, which brought together a wide collection of propaganda flags, began with a hymn to Kim Jong-il, the television said, while the participants pledged to fervently carry out the New Year goals.

North Koreans are said to be forced to memorize joint press editorials released every New Year’s Day. The editorials are scrutinized by outside officials and analysts for hints into the isolated country’s political and economic plans.

North Korea this year also called for dialogue with South Korea despite tensions that arose when it shelled a South Korean border island and killed four people on Nov. 23. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said in his New Year speech on Monday that his country would retaliate harshly if North Korea provoked it again, even though he left room for dialogue open.

Analysts believe the North, one of the poorest countries in the world, will have difficulties reviving its economy unless it opens up for outside resources. The North, which fears outside influence may undermine its grip on the 24-million population, made little mention of a need to open up economically in its New Year editorial.

Report 4 in the Daily NK:

North Korea has asserted as its goals for 2011, “improvement of the people’s lives and constant pursuit of construction of the strong and prosperous state” through its annual “Common Editorial” carried by the three major publications of state; Rodong Shinmun, Chosun People’s Army and Youths’ Advance Guard.

The publications, which carry the propaganda of the Party, military and Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League respectively, released the editorial this morning under the heading, “This year let us realize a decisive change in improving the people’s lives and constructing the strong and prosperous state by once more accelerating light industry.”

Without mentioning nuclear issues or improving relations with the U.S., and only scant mention of the succession, the editorial mostly reiterated the contents of last year’s editorial; “improving the people’s lives through development of light industry and agriculture.”

This year’s piece started with an evaluation of the last ten years, calling it a “victorious decade” and asserting, “Juche 99 (2010) was the year when phenomenal issues which showed the strong and prosperous future happened in consecutive order.”

Specifically, it pointed to the Delegates’ Conference of the Chosun Workers’ Party as the biggest achievement of the last year.

Regarding the Delegates’ Conference, it went on, “It was a significant chance to raise the authority of the Party in all possible ways and reinforce and develop our Party into an eternal Comrade Kim Il Sung Party,” adding that the Conference was “the fundamental background for the succession and completion of the achievements of the Party and Juche revolution.”

In terms of Kim Jong Il’s activities, it defined the last year as “a historical year when the excellent leadership of comrade Kim Jong Il was displayed at the highest level,” and emphasized, “The General’s leadership work, which led the whole military and people into a brave, aggressive war, was truly extraordinary and intelligent.”

The editorial praised Kim Jong Il’s diplomatic activities, stating, “Two visits to China by the respectful General were historic trips to raise the conventional friendly relations between China and Chosun onto a new level which have prepared the advantageous surroundings for our revolution.”

This appears to suggest that the biggest of Kim Jong Il’s achievements was obtaining Chinese support for the Kim Jong Eun succession.

After the evaluation of the previous year, strategies, goals and major slogans for the New Year followed as normal, and as normal all is led by a quotation from Kim Jong Il; this year, “We have to bring forth the bright future of the strong and prosperous state through constant innovation and advancement, while harboring a deep faith in our victory.”

Regarding the economy, it stated, “This year’s all-out battle is the constant, enormous march for an enhancement to people’s live,” and “light industry is the primary frontier of the all-out battle.”

Among the most interesting points may turn out to be, “The movement of August 3rd people’s consumer good production has to be carried out actively,” which may suggest that the authorities are set to partially allow autonomy of production, an idea which stands apart from recent strong-armed attempts to return to the socialist economy of yesteryear.

August 3rd people’s consumer goods refer to all the necessities made independently with by-products or recycled materials from each factory, enterprise or collective farm to help them generate revenue.

The editorial also demanded indirectly loyalty to Kim Jong Eun, who became the Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission under the Central Committee of the Party through the Party Delegates’ Conference in September, asserting, “Holding aloft the slogan, ‘Let’s defend the Central Committee of the Party surrounded by great comrade Kim Jong Il with our lives,’ we have to inherit solidly the precious tradition of believing absolutely and following the Party and Suryeong.”

It additionally implied that the North may take a hard-line towards South Korea this year, stating that, “The spirit of the People’s Army, which resembles its great supreme commander, is the fighting spirit of the Mt. Baekdu, and its way of reacting is through urgent and merciless annihilation.”

It also explained that the major reason for the latest confrontation between North and South is the South’s policy towards the North.

It asserted, “South Chosun authorities must come to the path of withdrawing their policy of anti-reunification, confrontation with the same nation and respect and implement the June 15 Joint Declaration and the October 4 Inter-Korean Summit Agreement.”

Saying, “If the flame of war bursts to life on this soil, there will be nothing but a nuclear disaster,” the editorial threatened, “The whole nation should never forgive the criminal maneuvers of pro-American and belligerent elements, which have dragged the situation into a war in collision with foreign forces.”

In conclusion, the editorial finished, “While unifying strongly around the Central Committee of the Party led by great comrade Kim Jong Il, let’s create decisive change in the construction of the strong and prosperous state with deep faith.”

Report 3 in  the Wall Street Journal:

The annual New Year’s message from North Korea’s authoritarian regime urged the country’s 24 million citizens as usual to work together for a stronger country, but it was more militant toward South Korea than last year’s statement was.

The message issued Saturday contained no signs of a new direction in overall economic and diplomatic strategy. It warned the South’s government to stop what it called “north-targeted war moves” and a “smear campaign” against it.

The New Year’s message is one of the few regular statements from Pyongyang that offer an opportunity to gauge the tone and direction of the regime, and is always a curiosity to outsiders because of its totalitarian language.

Running nearly 6,000 words in English, the message followed the usual pattern by first recalling the past year’s accomplishments. It then turned to focus on 2011 with a one-sentence declaration of purpose for the nation, which was immediately underlined by a quotation from dictator Kim Jong Il.

This year, Mr. Kim was quoted as saying, “We should bring earlier the bright future of a thriving nation by making continuous innovations and advance, full of confidence in victory.”

Most of the message focused on a long-promoted drive by the North’s government to build a “prosperous nation” by 2012, the 100-year anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, who is Kim Jong Il’s father. The elder Mr. Kim founded North Korea and was its absolute ruler from 1948 until his death in 1994. Kim Jong Il in September 2010 tapped his youngest son, Kim Jong Eun, as heir apparent, in a sign the family will attempt a third generation of control over the nation of 24 million.

As in previous New Year’s statements, the last 1,500 words or so of the 2011 message were devoted to the tension between North and South Korea, which has spanned decades.

The message indirectly referred to North Korea’s Nov. 23 attack of a South Korea-controlled island, the first attack by the North on South Korean land since the war of the 1950s. The North in Saturday’s message again blamed South Korea’s government and “outside forces,” a reference to the South’s allies, the U.S. and Japan, for inciting the attack with “north-targeted war moves.”

“The danger of war should be removed and peace safeguarded in the Korean peninsula,” the message said. That was stronger language than it used in the 2010 New Year’s message, when it said, “The way for improving north-south relations should be opened.”

By contrast, the 2010 statement didn’t use the word “war” in describing the tension with the South. Instead, it called the South’s government “vicious” and urged Seoul to “refrain from committing acts that may aggravate the confrontation and tension.”

Both the 2010 and 2011 statements outlined a number of steps the South’s government should take to avoid trouble with Pyongyang. It urged Seoul to halt weapons purchases and end its military alliance with the U.S.

“Collaboration with outside forces leads to war and national ruin,” the 2011 message said. “The entire nation should never tolerate the criminal moves of pro-U.S. war hawks who stake their fate on foreign forces and drive the situation to the brink of war in collusion with them.”

The message also reiterated the North Korean regime’s oft-stated themes of independent development, which it puts into practice by limiting freedoms of its citizens, including their ability to travel and obtain information about the outside world while telling them there is no life better that the North Korean one.

“There are no party and people in the world as great as ours, which have an ever-victorious history and a highly promising future,” it said.

The New Year’s statement is printed in every major North Korean newspaper and read on state-run broadcasts. Its state news agency also distributed the entire message Saturday, along with seven separate news stories about it on that day and several more on Sunday.

Report 2 in the  Wall Street Journal:

North Korea’s authoritarian regime, in its annual New Year’s message, on Saturday underlined its desire to take over South Korea and warned the South’s government to stop what it called “north-targeted war moves” and a “smear campaign” against it.

Much of the nearly 6,000-word message repeated statements it made last year and in previous years. Most of it focused on a long-promoted drive by the North’s government to build a “prosperous nation” by 2012, the 100-year anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, who founded North Korea and was its absolute ruler from 1948 until his death in 1994.

Mr. Kim’s son, Kim Jong Il, has led North Korea since then and, in late September 2010, tapped his youngest son Kim Jong Eun as his heir apparent, in a sign the family will attempt a third generation of control over the nation of 24 million.

As in the 2010 statement, the last 1,500 words or so of the 2011 message was devoted to the decades-long tension between North and South Korea. The Korean peninsula was divided by other countries in the aftermath of World War II. Since then, North Korea’s regime has spoken of “reunification” under its totalitarian leadership.

South Korea’s government, meanwhile, envisions a united Korea with its democratic government in control. The North’s government calls that vision “antireunification” and “treachery.”

“Today there is no more vital task than national reunification for the Korean people,” the North’s message on Saturday said. “The stand of attaching importance to the nation, the stand toward independent reunification, is the touchstone by which to distinguish patriotism from treachery.”

The message indirectly referred to North Korea’s Nov. 23 attack of a South Korea-controlled island, the first attack by the North on South Korean land since the war of the 1950s. The North in Saturday’s message again blamed South Korea’s government and “outside forces,” a reference to the South’s allies the U.S. and Japan, for inciting the attack with “north-targeted war moves.”

“The danger of war should be removed and peace safeguarded in the Korean peninsula,” the message said. That was stronger language than it used in the 2010 New Year’s message, when it said, “The way for improving north-south relations should be opened.”

The 2011 statement went on to outline a number of steps the South’s government should take to avoid confrontation, including a halt to weapons purchases and its military alliance with the U.S. “Collaboration with outside forces leads to war and national ruin,” the message said. “The entire nation should never tolerate the criminal moves of pro-U.S. war hawks who stake their fate on foreign forces and drive the situation to the brink of war in collusion with them.”

It called for “active efforts” to “create an atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation” between the two Koreas and said “free travel of and exchanges between people from all walks of life should be ensured.”

The message also reiterated the North Korean regime’s oft-stated themes of independent development, which it puts into practice by limiting freedoms of its citizens, including their ability to travel and obtain information about the outside world while telling them there is no life better that the one they are leading.

“There are no party and people in the world as great as ours, which have an ever-victorious history and a highly promising future,” it said.

The New Year’s statement is one of the main messages of the year by the North’s leadership to its people. It is printed in every major North Korean newspaper and read on state-run broadcasts. Its state news agency distributed the entire message, along with seven separate news stories about it early Saturday.

Report 1 in Yonhap:

North Korea called Saturday for defusing tension with South Korea, warning of a “nuclear holocaust” should another war break out on the peninsula, as the impoverished communist state made its last annual pitch for economic revival ahead of a landmark year.

A joint New Year’s editorial by the North Korean press did not make clear allusions to the country’s ongoing hereditary succession nor did it repeat the 2010 call for ending the state of enmity with the United States even though it did renew a pledge for denuclearization.

The editorial, considered a blueprint for Pyongyang’s policy goals, came amid the highest level of animosity between the Koreas in decades after the North bombarded a South Korean island on Nov. 23, killing four people in one of the worst attacks since the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has vowed retaliation while Seoul and Washington have teamed up to conduct joint military drills in a show of force to the North and a warning against provocation.

“Confrontation between north and south should be defused as early as possible,” the North said in the editorial jointly released by Rodong Sinmun, Joson Inmingun and Chongnyon Jonwi.

“If a war breaks out on this land, it will bring nothing but a nuclear holocaust,” it said, arguing that war was averted last year because of “our persevering efforts” and calling for the creation of “an atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation” this year.

North Korea typically makes calls for dialogue with the South in an effort to extract politically motivated aid, which Seoul has suspended since President Lee took office in early 2008.

The North also demanded that the South end its series of military exercises, accusing Seoul of aligning with “U.S. war hawks” and driving the situation to the brink of war.

The New Year’s message came after Lee expressed his hope earlier this week for the resumption of multilateral denuclearization-for-aid talks on the North. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson of the U.S. visited North Korea last month and won a pledge from the North to allow the return of international nuclear monitors on its soil.

The series of developments signaled a growing mood for the resumption of the stalled talks that include the two Koreas, the U.S., Russia, Japan and China. The so-called six-party negotiations have not been held since late 2008.

“The DPRK is consistent in its stand and will to achieve peace in Northeast Asia and denuclearization of the whole of the Korean peninsula,” the North’s joint editorial said, using the country’s official title, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

North Korea alarmed the world in November when it revealed through U.S. scholars that it was operating thousands of centrifuges to enrich uranium, a second track to building nuclear bombs.

The country, which has conducted two nuclear tests since 2006, claims the uranium enrichment, coupled with the construction of a light-water reactor, is for peaceful energy use. The U.S. sees the argument as a thin cover for advanced nuclear arms development.

Stressing that light industries are the “major front,” the North said standards of living for its people should be improved ahead of 2012, the year the leadership has designated as a moment in its history to rise as “a great, prosperous and powerful country.”

“Next year we will be greeting the centenary of the birth of President Kim Il-sung,” the country’s founder who passed his power to his son Kim Jong-il upon his death in 1994, the editorial said.

“We should launch an all-out, vigorous offensive for a breakthrough to realize the wish of the President to build a prosperous country,” it said, calling for a “full-scale offensive” to revive the moribund economy.

The North suffered extreme inflation and social unrest in some regions after a botched currency reform in late 2009 sent the prices of staples soaring high. The failure to reassert control on the market economy reportedly led authorities to make a public apology.

“Improving the economic management becomes more urgent at the moment, when the national economy is put on the trajectory of revitalization,” the editorial said, calling for a boost in the production of “primary consumer goods and other necessities widely used in life.”

“The sector of light industry should turn out commodities that would be favored by people,” it said.

Analysts have said the North will step up its efforts to address the economic plight of its people as it moves to justify its second hereditary power succession.

“Despite the attack on Yeonpyeong Island, North Korea is seen demonstrating an open-minded stance on inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation to tackle the current status of isolation,” said Chung Seong-chang, a senior analyst at the Sejong Institute in Seoul.

“However, I think military tensions would remain for the time being as the North also emphasized combat preparedness of its military,” Chung said.

The North unveiled the third son of its aging leader Kim Jong-il as a four-star general last year, anointing him as throne successor even though Kim Jong-un was no older than 28.

The editorial said the ruling party conference in September — in which Kim Jong-un rose to high political posts — marked a “a spirit of single-hearted unity to invariably defend the centre of unity and leadership despite the passage of time.” But it did not make comments that could be seen as directly related to succession.

Kim Jong-un has been touted by North Korean media as someone most capable of further developing the songun, or military-first, policy chartered by his father, who reportedly suffered a stroke in 2008.

The editorial said the 1.2 million-strong military should “conduct intense combat training in an atmosphere of actual battle as required by the tense situation,” warning the North will not pardon an act of invasion “even an inch.”

“We should further strengthen the militant might of the People’s Army,” it said, suggesting Pyongyang will continue to invest large resources in arms development despite economic difficulties.

The North claims it has developed nuclear arms to deter an invasion by the U.S., which signed a truce with the North at the end of the Korean War. The peninsula remains technically at war because no peace treaty has been signed.

Read the full stories here:
North Korea Issues New Year Warning
Wall Street Journal
Evan Ramstad
1/2/2010

North Korea Warns South in Annual Message
Wall Street Journal
Evan Ramstad
1/1/2011

N. Korea calls for ending tension with S. Korea, reviving economy
Yonhap
Sam Kim
1/1/2011

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DPRK economic activity in 2010

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No. 10-12-29
12/30/2010

In the New Year’s Joint Editorial issued last January, the North Korean government vowed to improve the lives of the people by focusing on light industry and agriculture. Early in December, the North Korean government-run media reflected on the year’s achievements, stating that advances in industry and improvements in the lives of the people had made unprecedented leaps in 2010.

As North Korea pushes forward with its attempt to “open the doors to a Strong and Prosperous Nation,” Pyongyang has poured significant effort into reviving its economy. In mid-December, the [North] Korean Central News Agency released a report on the 2010 activities of Kim Jong Il, noting that he had made 65 visits to sites related to the nation’s economy, more than twice as many as the 31 visits made to military sites. In 2009, Kim Jong Il made 58 visits to economic sites and 43 visits to military sites, suggesting that the leadership has shifted its focus to the economy this year.

On December 9, the Choson Sinbo published an article in which it highlighted the importance of improving the lives of the people and called an “economic renaissance” critical to the achievement of a “great and prosperous nation.” It also stressed the need for an independent people’s economy as the foundation for such a recovery.

As the North has worked to establish a self-sustaining economy this year, it has highlighted the Kimchaek Iron and Steel Complex as an example of ‘Juche’ production. North Korean media has highlighted the improvements in mining production, in Kimchaek as well as other areas, and has reported that the metals industry has undergone a “revolution” this year. The media has reported surprising production gains at the Hwanghae and Chollima steel complexes, and claim that these production levels have been repeated throughout the country.

Not only has the North celebrated “Juche steel”, but also “Juche textiles” and “Juche fertilizer.” In February, North Korea reopened the modernized “February 8 Vinalon Factory,” highlighting the factory as representative of the country’s independent textile production capacity and likening the new Vinalon factory to a new representation of North Korea’s socialist economy. On March 8, the KCNA called the Vinalon factory the new face of “the brilliant future of the Strong and Prosperous Nation.”

As for “Juche fertilizer,” the North’s media sang the praises of the Namhung Youth Chemical Complex, reporting that the anthracite gas process developed there allowed for steady agricultural production without needing to import fuel or other raw materials, and stated that if the process can be further institutionalized, it should be able to provide for the basic needs of the entire country.

Pyongyang has set as a goal the resolution of the country’s fertilizer shortage by producing one million tons of fertilizer by 2012 in the Hungnam Fertilizer Complex and the Namhung Youth Chemical Complex, stating that for every ton of fertilizer, it can produce ten tons of rice. The media has reported that the North will produce “over ten million tons of grain” in 2012 with the expected million tons of fertilizer.

Improvements in textiles, fertilizer, and other light industries are directly related to raising the standard of living for North Koreans. Kim Jong Il visited the Samilpo factory in Pyongyang in April, and for the rest of the year, state media heralded the advancements made in the factory and called for industries throughout the country to follow in its footsteps. Throughout the year, North Korean media highlighted numerous factories and light industries to illustrate the regime’s efforts at improving the standard of living.

The North Korean government has set a goal of resolving its food, clothing and housing shortages. In order to meet the food demands of the people, the regime seeks to increase grain output by boosting fertilizer production through ‘samilpo’-style factory enhancements. In order to assure everyone is clothed, the regime is relying on the Vinalon factory and increased domestic production. As for housing, the state has set its sights on the construction of 100,000 new houses by the year 2012.

At the forefront of the North’s push for modernization and increased production is its “Computer Numerical Control” (CNC), a vaguely defined idea that has been attributed to Kim Jong Un, the third son and probable successor of Kim Jong Il. As Pyongyang pursues a “strong and prosperous nation” by 2012, state-controlled think-tanks and industries are focusing on CNC as the means for modernization and increased productivity.

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DPRK holds national meeting of agricultural workers

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No. 10-3-4-1
3/4/2010

As the failure of North Korea’s currency reform drives the country’s food woes to even greater depths, DPRK authorities and farmers from around the country met on February 25 for two days of meetings under the theme, “Let’s Focus All Efforts on Farming and Resolve the Food Problem!”

It has been four years since North Korean authorities called for a nationwide meeting of agricultural workers, with the last meeting in February 2006. From 1974 to 1994, meetings were held annually in January or February, when farmers had a chance to rest between the fall harvest and the spring planting season. However, after the famine in 1995, in which millions starved to death, no meetings were held for twelve years.

This year’s New Year’s Joint Editorial called for North Koreans to revolutionize the light industrial and agricultural sectors in order to improve the lives of the people, and for them to struggle to resolve the country’s ‘eating issues’. However, in the aftermath of last December’s failed currency reform, the North’s food problems actually worsened to the point that people are starving to death. This led authorities to hold a nationwide agricultural meeting in order to show their determination to focus efforts on resolving food shortages and to encourage farmers and other residents to focus on agriculture.

According to the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the meetings were attended by “[Cabinet Premier] Kim Young Il, [National Defense Commission Vice-Chairman] Ri Yong Mu, and [Supreme People’s Assembly Chairman] Choe Tae Bok, leading officials of ministries and national institutions, party and people”s committees and agricultural guidance organs in provinces, cities and counties, officials of farm primary organizations, model farmers, scientists and technicians in the field of agriculture and officials of relevant industrial establishments.”

Vice-Premier Kwak Pom Gi presented a report, stressing, “On the agricultural front this year, marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Party, we must decisively ease the country’s food issue, [and] the people’s eating issue, charging forward with the improvement of the lives of the people and the construction of a strong and prosperous nation.” He also called for assistance to agricultural communities and related sectors, and for the prioritization of agricultural goods and materials.

According to a source in North Korea reporting to the South Korean organization Good Friends, deaths due to starvation in South Hamgyong Province’s Danchon city and South Pyongan Province’s Pyongsong city were reported to central Party authorities. This led to meetings on January 27 and February 1 of central Party members, cabinet officials and People’s Security authorities at which emergency measures to stave off famine were discussed.

Results of a survey of living conditions in Danchon and North Hamgyong Province’s Chongjin reported to central Party authorities revealed many deaths due to starvation, while currently, the most deaths due to lack of food appear to be occurring in South Pyongan Province’s Sunchon and Pyongsong cities. Last year, Party authorities in these cities turned over approximately 65 percent of harvests to the military, while farmers were only issued, on average, five months worth of rations.

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DPRK focuses on economy in 2010: Aims to improve the standard of living by boosting agricultural and light industry output

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
(NK Brief No.10-01-06-1)
2010-01-06

On January 1, North Korea published its annual New Year’s Joint Editorial in the Rodong Sinmun (official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea), Josonimmingun (newspaper of the Korean People’s Army), and the Chongnyonjonwi (newspaper of the Central Committee of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League).

The editorial introduces North Korea’s general policy direction for 2010. In the international realm, the editorial highlights the establishment of a peace regime between Pyongyang and Washington, as well as improving inter-Korean relations. Domestically, the editorial focused on improving the standard of living for the people by improving agriculture and light industries. It appears that the North has decided to focus on domestic and international stability.

This policy approach appears to be an attempt to strengthen the basis for the North’s drive to build a ‘Strong and Prosperous Nation’ by 2012, but in the mid- to long-term, it also seems to have been adopted with Kim Jong-eun’s succession in mind.

This year’s joint editorial focused primarily on the North’s economy. More than anything, it centered on improving the lives of the people by boosting light-industrial and agricultural output. This was highlighted in the editorial’s title, “Bring about a radical turn in the people’s standard of living by accelerating the development of light industry and agriculture once again this year that marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea,” and was a consistent theme throughout the article.

Focusing on increased economic output specifically in light industry and agriculture, it is clear that the Kim Jong Il regime is seeking to boost public support by solving food and clothing shortages.

It is also noteworthy that in the editorial’s section on the economy, there is absolutely no mention of the ‘national defense industry’ that has been prominent in previous New Year’s Joint Editorials. National defense has been prioritized in previous joint editorials, with one article emphasizing that “everything necessary for the national defense industry must first be ensured in order to meet the economic line of the Military-First Era.” The defense industry was briefly mentioned, however, in the editorial’s section emphasizing the importance of scientific and technological development.

Substantial points of the economic portion of the editorial include the following:

– The need to “bring about a radical turn in the people’s standard of living by accelerating the development of light industry and agriculture once again this year that marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea.”

-“Light industry and agriculture are the major fronts in the efforts for the improving of the peoples’ standard of living. . . . an all-Party, nationwide effort should be directed to mass-producing consumer goods.”

-“The agricultural sector should sharply increase grain output by thoroughly applying the Party’s policy of agricultural revolution, like improving seeds, double cropping and improving potato and soybean farming.”

-“We should radically increase state investment in fields related to the people’s lives, and all sectors and units should supply fully and in time the raw and other materials needed for the production of light-industrial goods.”

-“We should gain access to more foreign markets, and undertake foreign trade in a brisk way to contribute to economic construction and the improvement of the people’s standard of living.”

-“Socialist principles should be maintained in commodity circulation, and the quality of welfare services should be decisively improved.”

-“The fundamental secret of making a new leap in this year’s general offensive is in launching a campaign to push back the frontiers of science and technology in all sectors.”

-“The defense industry sector, a major front in pushing back the frontiers of science and technology, should continue to lead the efforts to open the gate to a great, prosperous and powerful country.”

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Citizen Mobilization Kicks Off Early

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Daily NK
Jung Kwon Ho
1/4/10

According to sources within North Korea, citizens have been mobilized to produce fertilizer and ordered to submit scrap materials for use by the state in an attempt to bring to fruition the New Year’s Statement, in which light industry and agriculture were promoted as the main frontiers for development in 2010.

One source from North Hamkyung Province told The Daily NK on the 3rd, “The first battle of this year began on the 2nd of January. A decree was issued, stating that each adult resident has to provide 50 kilograms of fertilizer to surrounding farms.”

He went on, “Middle school students of 11 and above have to provide 30 kilograms of fertilizer to their school, and any senior citizen over the age of 60 has to provide 30 kilograms of fertilizer to their neighborhood office. This fertilizer production battle will continue until the end of March”.

This is an unusual duration, the source explained, “The annual fertilizer production battle is normally completed on February 15th, but this year the authorities are emphasizing the importance of agriculture and, as a result, declared the completion date to be the end of March.”

“The production of fertilizer is an annual event, however, its target volume and duration has doubled. The lack of available fertilizer has already initiated competition between workplaces to secure access to public toilets and dumping grounds.”

A different source in Yangkang Province explained how things were being done there, “Middle school students over the age of 15 up to adults under the age of 60 have to provide fertilizer privately to surrounding farms by sled. Students from 1st to 3rd grade in middle school and senior citizens over the age of 60 have to provide the fertilizer to a neighborhood location designated by municipal committees of the Party.”

According to the same source, the temperature in Hyesan was -26C on the 2nd when workers from each workplace and factory, and residents of people’s units, assembled in the square in front of the Kim Jong Suk Art Hall to transport the fertilizer by sled to nearby farms in Chun-dong, Geomsan-dong and Wun-dong, and to Hwajeon Cooperative Farm, causing problems.

The source explained that the farms were up to 16 kilometers away, so, “Numerous people suffered from frostbite during the transfer.”

In addition to production of fertilizer, each workplace and organization received instructions to submit scrap metal, paper, rubber and vinyl. On this topic, the source commented, “Residents are making a hoo-ha about the requirement to submit unused materials for light industry like scrap metals. During the vacation in January, each middle school student is supposed to produce fertilizer and provide ten kilograms of scrap metal plus five kilograms of scrap paper and rubber to a designated depot. When such tasks are completed, the student gets a certificate from the depot and then has to show it to school.”

The source concluded, “Residents are already concerned about the possibility of increased compulsory mobilization even worse than that for the 150-Day Battle last year.”

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2010 Joint editorial round-up

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Naenara published an excerpt of the 2010 joint editorial of Rodong Sinmun, official organ of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Josoninmingun, newspaper of the Korean People’s Army, and Chongnyonjonwi, organ of the Central Committee of Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League:

Bring about a radical turn in the people’s standard of living by accelerating the development of light industry and agriculture once again this year that marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea

Today our service personnel and people greet the New Year Juche 99 (2010) with the pride of being victors, who wrote a new history of great revolutionary upsurge.

A heyday unprecedented in the history of the nation lies ahead of them, who are courageously rushing towards the world by tapping the inexhaustible potentials of Songun Korea.

Kim Jong Il is leading the campaign for the building of a great, prosperous and powerful nation to a brilliant victory as he steers the efforts to effect a great revolutionary upsurge on the strength of single-hearted unity. Now all the service personnel of the Korean People’s Army and all the people are offering their heartfelt thanks and the greatest glory to him who is shaping the brilliant future of the country and the revolution with unflagging energy and untiring leadership, and are filled with a firm determination to support the Party’s cause to the last with intense loyalty and heroic feats.

Last year Juche 98 (2009) was a year of dramatic change, when a phenomenal age of realizing all the ideals of the people has come.

Kim Jong Il worked out a grand plan for making a decisive turn in the Korean revolution and the building of a thriving nation by effecting a new revolutionary upsurge and wisely led the efforts of the service personnel and people. After kindling the torch of a great upsurge in Kangson, home to the Chollima movement, he proposed launching the 150-day and 100-day campaigns successively, and took revolutionary measures to bring them to a victorious conclusion. His outstanding leadership ability was the source of impetus for the unprecedentedly great innovations and leap. The matchless fighting spirit of the leader, who continued the forced march of high intensity to vibrant hard-fought fields for an upsurge throughout the year, burning his heart with noble love of his country and fellow people, gave free rein to the mental strength of all the service personnel and people and worked world-startling miracles across the country. Last year’s struggle etched in their hearts the truth that his decision is precisely practice and they will always emerge victorious when they follow him.

Last year witnessed one remarkable event of knocking on the gate to a thriving nation after another.

The successful launch of man-made satellite Kwangmyongsong No. 2 and the successful second underground nuclear test by our own efforts and technology were a landmark event signalling the first victory in the building of a prosperous nation. The perfection of the Juche-based steel-making system in the Songjin Steel Complex and the attainment of the cutting edge of the CNC technology constitute a great victory of the great Juche idea and an auspicious event for the whole country and all the people that demonstrated our inexhaustible economic and technological potentials. The firework displays on the Day of the Sun–birthday of President Kim Il Sung–, May Day and the WPK anniversary in October were a striking manifestation of the lofty ideals and ambition of the Korean people who are building a thriving nation and the rosy future of Songun Korea that is advancing under the leadership of the great Party.

The economy of the country entered the stage of full-scale upturn as all the people staged a life-and-death struggle under the leadership of the Party.

The 150-day and 100-day campaigns were an unforgettable struggle that wrote the most brilliant chapter in the history of our great upsurge. The whole course of the heroic campaigns conducted by all the people, including the workers, clearly showed what kinds of miracles would be performed and what kinds of changes would be effected when we give free rein to the might of the harmonious whole of our leader, our Party and our people, in which the Party trusts the people and the people defends the Party and the leader at the risk of their lives.

Production sharply increased in the sectors of basic industries, vanguards of the national economy, and the industry as a whole achieved revitalization. Structures of lasting value in the Songun era, like the Nyongwon Power Station, Wonsan Youth Power Station, Waterway on the Miru Plain and Mansudae Street, were built across the country. The gasification project in the Namhung Youth Chemical Complex was completed, and dynamic efforts were made to upgrade the major factories and other enterprises. Last year remarkable achievements were brought about in agricultural production and rural construction, many cooperative farms transformed into ideal villages appropriate to a prosperous country and the production foundations and potentials of the light-industry sectors, including the textile and food-processing industries, strengthened markedly.

Remarkable successes were achieved in the development of socialist culture.

In the heat of the revolution in literature and the arts in the Songun era conducted under the energetic guidance of Kim Jong Il, masterpieces were produced and re-presented one after another in the fields of the cinema, opera, drama and music. Examples of mass-based culture and the arts in the era of a great upsurge were set to inspire the whole country with revolutionary enthusiasm and militant spirit. Kim Il Sung University, Wonsan University of Agriculture and other institutions of learning were refurnished splendidly, and sportspersons registered good results bringing great pleasure to the people.

The victorious great upsurge of last year confirms that the DPRK is developing in leaps and bounds, and the day when the successful building of a thriving nation will be proclaimed is just approaching.

New Year Juche 99 (2010) is a year of general offensive, when all-Party and nationwide efforts should be concentrated on improving the people’s standard of living on the basis of the laudable victory and achievements of the great revolutionary upsurge.

Kim Jong Il said:

“Our building of the country into an economic giant is aimed, to all intents and purposes, at radically improving the people’s standard of living. When the people’s living standards are decisively improved, hooray for socialism and singing of Arirang of prosperity can ring out louder across the country and the gate to a prosperous nation be opened.”

This year marks the 65th anniversaries of the founding of the glorious Workers’ Party of Korea and the country’s liberation.

The anniversary of the founding of the WPK will be an important occasion for demonstrating the mounting national spirit and mettle of the Korean army and people, who are adding brilliance to the undying exploits performed by President Kim Il Sung in building the Party and carrying out the revolutionary cause of Juche and the human cause of independence, and are speeding up the building of a thriving socialist nation on the strength of the single-hearted unity around the leadership of the revolution. We should celebrate the anniversary as a great revolutionary event to be written down in the history of Kim Il Sung’s nation as we give the fullest play to their ardent loyalty to the Party, great guide, that has opened up a bright future for the country and people.

The great upsurge we are bringing about as we make unheard-of creation and leap forward under the leadership of the Party has entered a new phase.

The might of the country’s economy, including the heavy industry, was strengthened in the flames of the gigantic great upsurge, setting up a springboard for the country, already a politico-ideological and military power, to justifiably reach the status of an economic giant.

Now, based on the brilliant achievements of the great revolutionary upsurge, the Party is unfolding unprecedentedly grand plans and operations to bring about a decisive turn in the people’s standard of living. It is the firm determination and will of the Party to enable the people, who have braved severe hardships together with the Party, to enjoy the blessing of socialism to their heart’s content by getting them relish the substantial fruits of the present great upsurge and realize without fail the noble intention and desire of President Kim Il Sung who devoted his heart and soul to the people all his life. True to the intention of the Party, which regards it as the supreme principle in its activities to steadily improve the people’s standard of living and spares nothing for them, we should channel all our efforts to improving the people’s standard of living.

To launch a sweeping campaign to bring about a drastic turn in the improving of the people’s standard of living in the flames of the great revolutionary upsurge—this is the general orientation of this year’s efforts.

We should conduct an all-Party and nationwide drive for improving the people’s standard of living to ensure that the achievements of the great upsurge are followed by greater ones and this year becomes a prosperous year filled with the people’s happiness.

“Bring about a radical turn in the people’s standard of living by accelerating the development of light industry and agriculture once again this year that marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea!” is a slogan we should uphold.

Light industry and agriculture are the major fronts in the efforts for the improving of the people’s standard of living.

Great are the foundations of light industry and agriculture, which our Party has laid out with an eye on today against all odds.

An all-Party, nationwide effort should be directed to mass-producing consumer goods. The light-industry sector should carry forward the upgrading of its factories and enterprises on a high level, and strive to improve the quality of the consumer goods. Local-industry factories should be operated at full capacity, and units, as many as possible, should launch a campaign to turn out more daily necessities favoured by the public. The agricultural sector should sharply increase the grain output by thoroughly applying the Party’s policy of agricultural revolution, like improving the seeds, doing double cropping and improving potato and soya bean farming. It should strictly observe the requirements of the Juche farming method and introduce organic and other new farming methods and technologies. We should ensure that the updated stockbreeding, fish farming and fruit production bases that have established a Juche-oriented breeding system and embodied the principle of profitability demonstrate their great effect in reality.

We should radically increase the state investment in the fields related to the people’s living, and all the sectors and units should supply fully and in time the raw and other materials needed for the production of light-industry goods. We should gain access to more foreign markets, and undertake foreign trade in a brisk way to contribute to economic construction and the improving of the people’s standard of living.

The four vanguard sectors are the engine of the national economy and a key to solving the problem of the people’s living.

In December last year, Kim Jong Il kindled the flame for the new year’s drive while inspecting the Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex and placed the workers of the Songjin Steel Complex, who had perfected the Juche-based steel-making system, in the van of the great revolutionary upsurge in the Songun era. The vanguard sectors, with a firm view that the development of light industry and agriculture depends on that of heavy industry, should push ahead with today’s general offensive for the improving of the people’s standard of living by means of increased production.

Steel production leads to the production of grain and machinery. The sector of metal industry should increase the capacity of Juche iron production that relies on the domestic raw materials and fuel and scale without fail the targets of pig iron, steel and rolled steel production set by the Party. The sector of electric power industry should channel effort to run thermal power stations at full capacity and push ahead with the construction of large-scale hydroelectric power stations, including the Huichon Power Station. The sector of coal industry should produce coal without condition for the thermal power stations, chemical factories and other important units, and step up modernization projects to steadily enhance its production capacities. The sector of rail transport should set an order and discipline as strict as in the army, produce new-type locomotives and freight cars in a larger number and make railway service modernized and railways heavy-duty.

The sector of machine-building industry should extend the scope of introduction of the CNC technology on a high standard as required by the IT age, and effect a revolution in the production of tools, so as to produce high-performance, state-of-the-art machinery in a larger number.

We should implement the people-oriented policies of the Party and the state to enable all the people to substantially enjoy the benefits of socialism.

The true nature of our socialism lies in putting the people’s well-being above anything else and providing them with all the benefits. We should ensure that the advantages of the people-oriented policies, like giving free medical care and free education, formulated by President Kim Il Sung and applied by the Party and state throughout their history are given fuller play to in the people’s living. We should speed up the construction of 100 000 flats in Pyongyang with those in Mansudae Street as a model, and build beautiful socialist streets and villages in a greater number in other urban and rural areas. Socialist principles should be maintained in commodity circulation, and the quality of welfare service improved decisively.

The fundamental secret of making a new leap in this year’s general offensive is in launching a campaign to push back the frontiers of science and technology in all sectors.

We must turn out as one under the slogan, “Let us push back the frontiers of science and technology in all the sectors of the building of a great, prosperous and powerful country and leap higher and faster!” The sector of defence industry, a major front in pushing back the frontiers of science and technology, should continue to lead the efforts to open the gate to a great, prosperous and powerful country, and all other sectors and units of the national economy should launch a drive to push back the frontiers of science and technology. They should bring science and technology close to production and put themselves on a modern and scientific basis in a far-sighted manner, focusing on enhancing their abilities to develop new technologies and products. We should map out a correct strategy for the development of science and technology as required by the 21st century, and rapidly develop core technologies, technical engineering of major sectors and basic science. Scientists and technicians should fulfil their role as the pioneers in pushing back the frontiers of science and technology and standard-bearers in making their country a scientific and technological giant, with a determination to glorify their country by means of their intelligence, their technology. All the sectors should conduct a vigorous mass technological innovation movement to push back the frontiers of science and technology and create new norms and records.

Today’s vibrant reality requires a revolutionary change in the organizing of economic work.

The leading economic officials should map out aggressive and realistic business and management strategies, and actively push ahead with the advance of the current great upsurge. A strict discipline should be established in planning, financial management and labour administration, so as to give full play to the superiority of the highly-organized, socialist planned economy.

In order to maximize the speed of this year’s general offensive, it is necessary to give steady play to the unconquerable mental strength of the service personnel and people.

Our Party remains unchanged in its stand to persistently hold fast to the ideological strength, mental strength, no matter how the situation may change.

The mental strength of our people is based on the strong will and fighting spirit of General Kim Jong Il. All the Party members and other people should become staunch revolutionaries and vanguard fighters, who, defending their leader unto death, translate into reality the idea of great upsurge and the far-reaching plans of the General, who continues his unremitting forced march for the benefit of his country and fellow people. The slogan “When the Party is determined, we can do anything!” must become the eternal motto of our people in their life and struggle.

For us, who have to make a higher and faster leap towards the world, national dignity is as precious as life itself. We should thoroughly embody the Korean-nation-first spirit in all fields of social life as befits the people of a dignified power, who opened up an era of frontier science in which our satellite is circling the orbit.

The sector of art and literature should produce many masterpieces so as to give the fullest play to the mental strength of the service personnel and people.

In order to achieve the goals set by the Party this year, we should strengthen in every way the might of our revolutionary ranks, whose core is the Korean People’s Army.

The KPA should plan and conduct all forms of its military and political work on the highest level this year that marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the Songun-based revolutionary leadership of Supreme Commander Kim Jong Il, thus giving fuller play to the inexhaustible might of the revolutionary army of Mt. Paektu.

The KPA is an elite force that has formed a harmonious whole with the Supreme Commander in idea and will, in disposition and pluck, and in feeling and emotion.

It should train all its men and officers into the vanguard fighters of the Songun revolution, holding aloft the slogan “Let us defend with our very lives the leadership of revolution headed by the great Comrade
Kim Jong Il!” It should ensure that it overflows with the soldiers’ spirit of implementing without condition the orders and directives of the Supreme Commander by holding the work of establishing the revolutionary command system and military discipline as a priority task of the Party political work and developing the work without letup. It should always remain highly alert without a moment of relaxation or indolence while keeping itself fully ready for combat action so that it can resolutely frustrate any surprise attacks of the enemy.

The men and officers of the People’s Army should continue to perform feats that would go down in history in the grand construction sites, including the Huichon Power Station, by displaying the revolutionary soldier spirit. Under the slogan “Let us help the people!” they should strengthen the unity between the army and the people, a foundation of Songun Korea, and become the role models for civilians in the ideological spirit, morality, sports and physical culture, the arts and all other aspects.

The working class, youth and all other people, who are taking part in the effort for the building of a great, prosperous and powerful country, should launch determined offensives, regarding their work places as battle fields. Our workers should create a new speed of advance in the spirit of having performed labour feats during the 150-day and 100-day campaigns.

The youth, who are a shock brigade in the great revolutionary upsurge, should make breakthroughs in the construction site of the Paektusan Songun Youth Power Station and other most difficult and labour-intensive posts and build more monumental edifices representing the Songun era, burning their hearts with the determination to move even the mountain if the Party calls them to do so. They should become heroes, who add lustre to the era of great upsurge with undying labour feats, and talented persons, who highly demonstrate the dignity of the country by pushing back the frontiers of science and technology.

We should strengthen the Party and remarkably enhance the role of Party organizations to achieve a brilliant victory in this year’s general offensive.

This year, when we will be celebrating the 65th anniversary of the founding of the Party, Party organizations should give free rein to our Party’s militant might, which was built in the tempest of the Songun revolution, by bringing about a fresh turn in the Party work.

They should further intensify the Three-Revolution Red Flag Movement, so as to ensure that the revolution in ideology, technology and culture is waged briskly at all units.

We should defend the interests of the masses in a thoroughgoing way and solve all problems by relying on their strength as required by the revolutionary mass line of the Party.

Officials should become true servants of the people, who understand their sentiments and unfold their work as suited to these sentiments, and commanding personnel who, enjoy reputation and love among them, as they are possessed of free and easy character and ennobling humane traits.

All Party members, with a high political consciousness that they are the members of the glorious Workers’ Party of Korea, should become skillful political activists and courageous fighters, who always hold the flag in the van in all fronts of making a great upsurge.

The working people’s organizations should strengthen ideological education and briskly conduct various kinds of mass movements, like the socialist emulation movement among their members so as to give free rein to their patriotic enthusiasm in today’s effort for building a great, prosperous and powerful nation.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of the historic June 15 North-South Joint Declaration. The North-South Summit and the publication of the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration in 2000 were a historic event that is of great significance in accomplishing the cause of national reunification. Under the banner of June 15 North-South Joint Declaration, a new era of independent reunification has been opened, and great, unprecedented successes were achieved in the development of inter-Korean relations and the national reunification movement. The previous ten years since the publication of the June 15 Declaration followed by the publication of the October 4 Declaration for its implementation, during which the Korean nation has advanced along the road for independent reunification and peace and prosperity, has clearly confirmed that these declarations are the most reasonable reunification programmes and the ideal of “by our nation itself” is the very national spirit and the one and only ideal in the June 15 reunification era.

Last year, we took active and bold measures and made sincere efforts in order to improve the aggravated inter-Korean relations and bring a radical phase in national reunification. Our measures evoked great support and sympathy at home and abroad and created an atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation between the north and the south.

The schemes of the separatist forces to thwart the advance of the era of June 15 reunification are vicious, but they cannot break the desire and will of the fellow countrymen to achieve independent reunification and national prosperity by implementing the north-south joint declarations, and it is inevitable that the pro-reunification, patriotic forces will prevail over the separatist forces and emerge victorious.

This year we should hold high the slogan “Let the entire nation unite under the banner of north-south joint declarations and achieve national reunification at the earliest date!”

The way for improving the north-south relations should be opened.

Unshakable is our stand that we will improve the north-south relations and open the way for national reunification on the basis of the historic June 15 Joint Declaration and October 4 Declaration. If the south Korean authorities continue to negate the June 15 Declaration and cling to the policy of confrontation in collusion with the foreign forces, the relations between north and the south will never be improved. They should refrain from committing acts that may aggravate the confrontation and tension, and take the road of respecting the North-South Joint Declaration, promoting north-south dialogue and improving the relations between both sides.

National reconciliation and cooperation should be promoted actively.

Reconciliation should be promoted with the common national interests given precedence, and cooperation should be encouraged through travel and contacts between the people from all walks of life. All sorts of legal and institutional mechanisms that hinder the projects for common interests and prosperity of the nation should be abolished and free discussion and activities of the broad sections of the people for reunification should be fully ensured.

The unity of the entire nation constitutes a decisive guarantee for the country’s reunification. All the fellow countrymen in the north, south and abroad should strengthen solidarity and collaboration to develop the national reunification movement. They should build up the atmosphere of independent national reunification, reconciliation, cooperation and unity on a nationwide scale to greet the 10th anniversary of the publication of the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration and the 30th anniversary of the advancing of the proposal for the founding of the Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo.

The entire Korean nation should crown the year 2010 as a year of opening a new phase of independent reunification by frustrating all challenges of the anti-reunification forces with their concerted efforts and stepping up the grand nationwide march toward reunification.

The fundamental task for ensuring peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in the rest of Asia is to put an end to the hostile relationship between the DPRK and the USA. It is the consistent stand of the DPRK to establish a lasting peace system on the Korean peninsula and make it nuclear-free through dialogue and negotiations. Our Party and the Government of our Republic will strive to develop relations of good-neighbourliness and friendship with other countries and achieve global independence under the unfurled banner of independence, peace and friendship.

Our Party is a great guide which steers our motherland and people to sure victory, and ours are a heroic army and people who perform everything without fail once the Party has planned and decided to do it.

The majestic firework display to be held on the auspicious October holiday will resound all over the world as a reflection of the determination of all the service personnel and people to follow the Party to the last along the road of Songun and the delight of all the people in enjoying the blessings of socialism.

More about the joint editorial below:
(more…)

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Korea Business Consultants Newsletter (1/09)

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Korea Business Consultants has published their January newsletter.

Here is a link to the PDF.

Topics covered:
New Year Joint Editorial
Year of DPRK-China friendship
UNDP to resume DPRK operations
Buddhist Leader to Head DPRK’s ROK Affairs
DPRK Railroad Engineers Study in Russia
Housing Construction Progresses Apace
Orascom Opens Bank in Pyongyang
DPRK Tackles Clothing Shortage
“DPRK Harvest Best in Years”
China to Invest in NK Coal
US$ 3.75 Million in Australian Aid for DPRK
The Principles of the DPRK’s Foreign Trade
ROK Farmers Send Rice to DPRK
New SNG Kaesong Plant Idle
“Inter-Korean Trade Slides Due to Weak ROK Won”
ROK to Build Nursery in Kaesong Complex
DPRK Opens Consulate in Dandong
DPRK, China Foreign Officials Meet
Seoul Forum Highlights DPRK Films
“NK Martial Arts Team Best in World”
PUST Opening Delayed
DPRK TV Takes Note of Park Ji-sung
The Korean War

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Assessment of the 2008 DPRK economy, outlook for 2009

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
ICNK Forum No. 09-2-2-1
2/2/2009

ASSESSMENT OF THE NORTH KOREAN ECONOMY FOR 2008

In the 2008 North Korean New Year’s Joint Editorial, Pyongyang established the year 2012 as “The Year of the Perfect Strong and Prosperous Nation,” while labeling 2008, “The Year of Turnabout,” and, “The Year of the Betterment of the Livelihoods of the People.” As the year marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the regime projected a highly motivated façade, but there was no sign of new changes in the North’s economic policies.

Faced with the inability to produce any substantial results in the realm of international economic cooperation, North Korean authorities focused on how to put a positive spin on international conditions that were tied to the progress of 6-Party Talks. However, no visible measures appeared to emerge. Internally, North Korea’s chronic supply shortages drove further disparities between official and market pricing and monetary exchange rates as authorities were unable to stabilize the domestic economy. The growing global economic instability also caused economic policy makers to act more conservatively.

In 2008, North Korea’s food production in 2008 amounted to 4.31 million tons, recording a 7.5 percent increase over the previous year, while energy production is estimated to have grown by approximately 10 percent. Through joint development projects for North Korea’s underground resources, the North received raw materials for light industries (soap and shoes) amounting to 70 million USD in 2007, and 10 million last year. In addition, DPRK-PRC trade and inter-Korean economic cooperation both grew (DPRK-PRC trade increased significantly, while North-South cooperation grew only slightly), but it is difficult to measure the extent to which these increases impacted the North’s economy.

It appears that overall, North Korean trade and industry has improved since 2007, and the 2008 economic growth rate was positive. However, when estimating the North’s economic growth rate in light of the quickly rising exchange rate for South Korean won, DPRK economic growth for 2008 could be seen as a negative value.

While North Korea’s overall industrial production grew in 2008, when compared to previous years, and the primary reason for such was the refurbishment of equipment in most stable industries, development assistance and heavy oil aid as part of the 6-Party Talks, the provision of raw materials for light industries by South Korea, and the rise in prices on goods internationally.

Because of favorable weather conditions and increased production of fertilizer in the North, the agricultural sector showed a relative increase in production in 2008, despite the suspension of fertilizer aid from South Korea. Grain production was up 300 thousand tons, for an estimated total of 4.31 million tons last year. Boosted energy production was helped by improvements in hydroelectrical production and heavy oil tied to 6-Party Talks, and the provision of parts and materials for power plants, which considerably increased power production, at least in the first half of the year. This played an important role in the increase in industrial operations, as well. As electrical supply is the biggest obstacle to raising the operating rate of production facilities, more power resulted in overall production increases.

The construction sector has focused efforts on Pyongyang, and in particular on efforts to improve the lifestyles of its residents. Housing (averaging 20,000 family dwellings per year), restaurants, waterworks, roads, and other construction and repair projects have been aggressively undertaken.

North Korean authorities emphasized the science and technology sector in 2008, although it appears that the actual impact of this campaign topped out at the supply of some practical technology and the at production facilities, power plants, and other factories, and the promotion of modernization and normalization of industrial production.

At the mid-point of 2008, inter-Korean trade had grown by 1.2 percent compared to the same period the year prior, reaching 1.82 billion USD. The freeze on the annual supply of 400 thousand tons of rice and between 300~350 thousand tons of fertilizer from the South had a negative impact on the North’s food situation. On the other hand, DPRK-PRC trade from January-November 2008 jumped by 29.3 percent over the same period in 2007, considerably more than the 14.9 percent recorded in 2005, the 14.9 percent seen in 2006 and the 16.1 percent rise last year.

The increase natural resource development and improvements in core industries, the possibility of expansion of markets, and the advantage of low-cost labor give China, Russia, and other adjacent countries positive perceptions regarding investment in the North, and as Pyongyang continued to expand economic cooperation with these countries last year, it also improved economic relations with Europe as well as Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries.

PROSPECTS FOR THE NORTH KOREAN ECONOMY IN 2009

If one looks at North Korea’s domestic economic policies, one will see that basically, in the 2009 New Year’s Joint Editorial, North Korea’s domestic and international economic policies have not undergone any significant changes. However, in order to accomplish the goal of establishing a Strong and Prosperous Country by 2012, it is expected that all efforts will be poured into reviving the economy. Based on the Joint Editorial, this year, the North’s economic policy is not one of reform due to transformation of the outside environment, but rather a revival of pas, conservatively grounded economic policy. Regarding international economic relations, the 2008 Joint Editorial specifically stressed the building of an economically strong nation based on the principle of the development of external economic relations, but there was no particular reference to this in 2009.

In 2009, resolution of agricultural problems was again prioritized as the task most necessary for the realization of a Strong and Prosperous Nation by 2012. Along with this, the North’s economic policy for 2009 will prioritize the modernization and normalization of the economy’s ‘vanguard sector’, and it is expected to continue to strengthen efforts to revive the economy. As it continues to work toward creating an environment in which it can concentrate efforts on the building of an ‘Economically Strong Nation’, North Korean authorities are expected to issue new measures to strengthen the economic management system, including the planned industrial system, the distribution and circulation framework, and an effective market management system. The North is also expected to further emphasize efforts to modernize the People’s Economy, as it considers modern vanguard science and technology to be the answer to recovery from its current economic crisis.

There is a possibility North Korea’s foreign trade, including that with China, will shrink in the future, as its external economic activity is hit by the current international economic situation and the rising value of the U.S. dollar and Chinese Yuan. Just as was seen in 2008, with the shrinking growth of the Chinese economy, DPRK-PRC trade will be hit negatively. Progress on the rail link being promoted between Rajin and Hasan, as well as the redevelopment of the Rajin Harbor is also expected to face difficulties. This is likely to lead to further efforts by the North to expand economic cooperation with the EU and Middle Eastern countries.

Despite North Korea’s removal from the U.S. list of terrorism-sponsoring states, because sanctions against North Korea still remain, the North will need to make progress in non-proliferation, human rights improvement, and marketization in order to see real economic benefits from improved relations with the Obama administration. However, because of a lack of confidence regarding market reform, differing stances between the U.S. and DPRK on denuclearization, and deeply rooted mistrust, there is a more than a small chance that progress on the nuclear issue will be stretched out over the long term.

Looking at prospects for the main domestic economic sectors of North Korea, firstly, the amount of development in the energy and mining sectors could take a favorable turn if there is movement on the nuclear issue, and this would have an overall positive effect on the entire industrial sector. The drop-off of demand due to the international financial crisis could have a considerable impact on the North’s mining sector, making it difficult to see much growth past the levels seen in 2008.

In 2009, the supply-demand situation regarding North Korean grains is expected to improve over last year. North Korea requires 5.2 million tons of grain, and is expected to harvest 4.9~5 million tons, falling only 200~300 thousand tons short. This is an improvement over the 790 thousand ton shortfall the North suffered in 2008. However, the actual amount of grains distributed to the people may not increase, because some of the 2008 shortage was relieved through the release of emergency rice reserves, and so some portion of the 2009 harvest will need to be set aside to restock that emergency reserve.

In the manufacturing sector, the increase in electrical production and increase in large-scale equipment operations in metalworks, chemicals, construction materials, and other heavy industries, the supply of materials for light industries as well as fertilizer will be extended, but the reduction of inter-Korean economic cooperation and foreign capital will mean a reduction in the ability to import equipment and materials, making it difficult to meet 2008-level growth in industrial production numbers.

In the construction sector, housing construction in Pyongyang and other areas will not fall off suddenly, but with the anniversary of the founding of the Party Museum upcoming and the impact of the furious construction activity that has been underway, it is likely to slow down in 2009. With North Korean authorities restricting private-sector economic activity, controlling the size of markets, and other measures controlling commerce in the North are expected to strengthen, which will considerably restrict anti-socialist commercial activity. To what extent official commerce networks will absorb this activity will be pivotal.

Trade between North Korea and China is expected to shrink as the global economic crisis drives down the price of raw materials that the North exports to the PRC. Following the North Korean authorities’ enforcement of a measure reducing inter-Korean economic cooperation on December 1, 2008, without improvement in the North Korean nuclear issue, and in U.S.-DPRK relations cooperation between Seoul and Pyongyang will gradually shrivel. Trade with other countries is also expected to fall as a result of the current global economic situation. Therefore, reduction of inter-Korean economic cooperation, North Korea’s principle provider of foreign capital, and sluggish trade between Beijing and Pyongyang will weaken the North’s foreign reserves supply-and-demand situation.

As for the investment sector, if North Korea is to succeed in its push to build a Strong and Prosperous Nation by 2012, it must attract foreign investment through aggressive policies of opening its economy. In order to improve the investment environment, Pyongyang must work more aggressively to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, but despite the demands of the surrounding countries, it is likely North Korea will insist on recognition as a nuclear power, making it difficult to expect progress on this front. Therefore, foreign investors’ interest in North Korean markets, and North Korea’s assention into international financial institutions through improved relations with the United States, appears to be a long way off.

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DPRK relic in Ethiopia

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

dergmonument.jpg

The Dialachin Monument (a.k.a. Victory Monument, Derg Monument) was a gift from Pyongyang to Addis Ababa’s Derg regime in the 1970s.

You can see the location of the monument in Wikimapia here.

You can learn more about the Derg here.

See more photos of the monument here.

*This location will be added to the next version of North Korea Uncovered (North Korea Google Earth).  If readers are aware of other construction projects the DPRK has supported, please let me know.  I am especially interested in locating the North Korean restaurants in China, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh.  Are there others?

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DPRK outlines region-specific economic growth plans

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
Nk Brief No. 09-1-23-1
1/23/2009

Following the recent North Korean New Year’s Joint Editorial and its calls for economic measures, on January 5, more than 100,000 people attended a rally in Pyongyang at which customized economic tasks were presented for each of the North’s provinces, taking into account each region’s particular industrial concentration or specialty.

According to North Korean media reports on January 20, Pyongyang stressed reforms in steel, power, coal, railway, and other sectors it considers ‘Priority Sectors of the People’s Economy.” It also presented tasks for the promotion of housing construction, refurbishment of pig farms, and the increase in production of farms and light industries providing daily necessities to the people of the North.

South Pyongan Province was tasked with increasing the production of ‘Juche’ steel’ at the Chollima Steel Complex, which kicked off the “new revolutionary upsurge” late last year during an on-site inspection by Kim Jong Il, as well as full operation of the newly built ‘superpower electric furnace’, and called on all the people of the province to increase production of organic fertilizer in order to boost food production.

For North Pyongan Province, “mass reforms” for the metalworks sector and concentrated efforts to increase electrical production at the Supung and Taechon power plants were called for. In addition, increased production at the Kujang Earth Colliery Complex, Rakwon Machinery Complex, and the Sinuiju Cosmetics Factory were ordered, as was the institution of advanced agricultural management methods.

Efforts in South Hwanghae Province are to be focused on increasing iron ore mining and scrap iron collection at sites such as the Eunryool and Jaeryung mines, and agricultural production goals are to be met through the introduction of high-yield crops and double-cropping.

North Hwanghae Province was ordered to focus on increasing production at the Hwanghae Iron Complex, the Yesong River Youth Power Plant No. 1, the 2.8 Madong Cement Factory, the Sariwon Poultry Farm, and the Sariwon Pig Farm. In addition, high-yield crops are to be introduced and construction of irrigation systems is to begin, as land management efforts are to be implemented in order to expand agricultural land in Mirubol. North Hwanghae Province is also to build a new library, a new arts theater, and a new housing.

In South Hamgyung Province, efforts are focused on construction of the Keumya River and Keumjin River Guchang power plants, as well as improving mining capacity at the mines in the Danchun area while renovating production facilities at the Sudong Mines. Aggressive promotion of construction on the second stage of the 2.8 Vinylon Complex was also emphasized. Provincial authorities were also ordered to complete the initial stage of refurbishment in the Heungnam Pharmaceutical Plant, improve production at the Kwangpo Duck Farm and the Hamju Pig Farm, and accelerate home construction in Hamheung City.

North Hamgyung Province was tasked with perfecting ‘North Korean-style steel production methodology’ at the Kim Chaek Iron Complex and Sungjin Steel Complex, and modernizing exploration, mining and processing equipment at the Musan Mining Complex in order to boost output, along with bringing the Seodusu Power Plant and Chungjin Thermoelectric Power Plant fully on-line. Another important task prioritized was the completion of the second stage of the Urangchun Power Plant.

In Kangwon Province, construction of the Wonsan Army-People Power Plant, increased production at the Munchon River Ironworks, modernization of the Wonsan Shoe Factory and the Wonsan Textiles Factory, and the refurbishment of the Munchon Poultry Processing Plant were emphasized, along with the diversification of management in farming communities in order to resolve food shortage problems.

Ryanggan Province, in the northern Gosan region, was tasked with improving management of the Samsu Power Plant, which entered service in May 2007, and construction of the Baekdu Mountain Military-first Centennial Power Plant and other electrical facilities, and the establishment of a ‘hometown of potatoes’ for the quick increase in potato cropping.

The Jagang Province was tasked with modernizing its metalworks sector and increasing electrical production at the Gangye Youth Power Plant and Janga River Power Plant, construction of small and medium-sized power plants, and increasing its logging production. Jagang Province was also tasked with normalizing production in its pig, duck, and chicken factories, and software development for local organizations was emphasized as a priority task for the Electronic Business Research Institute in Ganggye City, which was visited by Kim Jong Il after its grand opening last year.

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