ORIGINAL POST (2013-12-9): According to KCNA (2013-12-9):
Report on Enlarged Meeting of Political Bureau of Central Committee of WPK
Pyongyang, December 9 (KCNA) — A report on the enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) was released on December 8.
The following is the full text of the report:
An enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the WPK was held in Pyongyang, the capital of the revolution, on Dec. 8.
Respected Comrade Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the WPK, guided the meeting.
Present there were members and alternate members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the WPK.
Leading officials of the Central Committee of the WPK, provincial party committees and armed forces organs attended it as observers.
Our party members, service personnel and all other people have made energetic efforts to implement the behests of leader Kim Jong Il, entrusting their destiny entirely to Kim Jong Un and getting united close around the Central Committee of the WPK since the demise of Kim Jong Il, the greatest loss to the nation.
In this historic period for carrying forward the revolutionary cause of Juche the chance elements and alien elements who had made their ways into the party committed such anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts as expanding their forces through factional moves and daring challenge the party, while attempting to undermine the unitary leadership of the party.
In this connection, the Political Bureau of the C.C., the WPK convened its enlarged meeting and discussed the issue related to the anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts committed by Jang Song Thaek.
The meeting, to begin with, fully laid bare the anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts of Jang Song Thaek and their harmfulness and reactionary nature.
It is the immutable truth proved by the nearly 70-year-long history of the WPK that the party can preserve its revolutionary nature as the party of the leader and fulfill its historic mission only when it firmly ensures its unity and cohesion based on the monolithic idea and the unitary center of leadership.
The entire party, whole army and all people are dynamically advancing toward the final victory in the drive for the building of a thriving nation, meeting all challenges of history and resolutely foiling the desperate moves of the enemies of the revolution under the leadership of Kim Jong Un. Such situation urgently calls for consolidating as firm as a rock the single-minded unity of the party and the revolutionary ranks with Kim Jong Un as its unitary centre and more thoroughly establishing the monolithic leadership system of the party throughout the party and society.
The Jang Song Thaek group, however, committed such anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts as gnawing at the unity and cohesion of the party and disturbing the work for establishing the party unitary leadership system and perpetrated such ant-state, unpopular crimes as doing enormous harm to the efforts to build a thriving nation and improve the standard of people’s living.
Jang pretended to uphold the party and leader but was engrossed in such factional acts as dreaming different dreams and involving himself in double-dealing behind the scene.
Though he held responsible posts of the party and state thanks to the deep political trust of the party and leader, he committed such perfidious acts as shunning and obstructing in every way the work for holding President Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in high esteem for all ages, behaving against the elementary sense of moral obligation and conscience as a human being.
Jang desperately worked to form a faction within the party by creating illusion about him and winning those weak in faith and flatterers to his side.
Prompted by his politically-motivated ambition, he tried to increase his force and build his base for realizing it by implanting those who had been punished for their serious wrongs in the past period into ranks of officials of departments of the party central committee and units under them.
Jang and his followers did not sincerely accept the line and policies of the party, the organizational will of the WPK, but deliberately neglected their implementation, distorted them and openly played down the policies of the party. In the end, they made no scruple of perpetrating such counter-revolutionary acts as disobeying the order issued by the supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army.
The Jang group weakened the party’s guidance over judicial, prosecution and people’s security bodies, bringing very harmful consequences to the work for protecting the social system, policies and people.
Such acts are nothing but counter-revolutionary, unpopular criminal acts of giving up the class struggle and paralyzing the function of popular democratic dictatorship, yielding to the offensive of the hostile forces to stifle the DPRK.
Jang seriously obstructed the nation’s economic affairs and the improvement of the standard of people’s living in violation of the pivot-to-the-Cabinet principle and the Cabinet responsibility principle laid down by the WPK.
The Jang group put under its control the fields and units which play an important role in the nation’s economic development and the improvement of people’s living in a crafty manner, making it impossible for the economic guidance organs including the Cabinet to perform their roles.
By throwing the state financial management system into confusion and committing such act of treachery as selling off precious resources of the country at cheap prices, the group made it impossible to carry out the behests of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on developing the industries of Juche iron, Juche fertilizer and Juche vinalon.
Affected by the capitalist way of living, Jang committed irregularities and corruption and led a dissolute and depraved life.
By abusing his power, he was engrossed in irregularities and corruption, had improper relations with several women and was wined and dined at back parlors of deluxe restaurants.
Ideologically sick and extremely idle and easy-going, he used drugs and squandered foreign currency at casinos while he was receiving medical treatment in a foreign country under the care of the party.
Jang and his followers committed criminal acts baffling imagination and they did tremendous harm to our party and revolution.
The ungrateful criminal acts perpetrated by the group of Jang Song Thaek are lashing our party members, service personnel of the People’s Army and people into great fury as it committed such crimes before they observed two-year mourning for Kim Jong Il, eternal general secretary of the WPK.
Speeches were made at the enlarged meeting.
Speakers bitterly criticized in unison the anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts committed by the Jang group and expressed their firm resolution to remain true to the idea and leadership of Kim Jong Un and devotedly defend the Party Central Committee politically and ideologically and with lives.
The meeting adopted a decision of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee on relieving Jang of all posts, depriving him of all titles and expelling him and removing his name from the WPK.
The party served warning to Jang several times and dealt blows at him, watching his group’s anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts as it has been aware of them from long ago. But it did not pay heed to it but went beyond tolerance limit. That was why the party eliminated Jang and purged his group, unable to remain an onlooker to its acts any longer, dealing telling blows at sectarian acts manifested within the party.
Our party will never pardon anyone challenging its leadership and infringing upon the interests of the state and people in violation of the principle of the revolution, regardless of his or her position and merits.
No matter how mischievously a tiny handful of anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional elements may work, they can never shake the revolutionary faith of all party members, service personnel and people holding Kim Jong Un in high esteem as the unitary centre of unity and unitary centre of leadership.
The discovery and purge of the Jang group, a modern day faction and undesirable elements who happened to worm their ways into our party ranks, made our party and revolutionary ranks purer and helped consolidate our single-minded unity remarkably and advance more dynamically the revolutionary cause of Juche along the road of victory.
No force on earth can deter our party, army and people from dynamically advancing toward a final victory, single-mindedly united around Kim Jong Un under the uplifted banner of great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism.
Though the report notes that many of Jang’s associates have been purged, Yonhap notes that the DPRK ambassador to China, one of Jang’s associates, is conducting business as usual.
The North Korean ambassador to China, considered one of the close aides to the purged uncle of the North’s leader Kim Jong-un, appears to be conducting “business as usual for now,” a Seoul diplomatic source said Monday, on the same day that Pyongyang confirmed the powerful uncle had been sacked from office.
The North Korean ambassador, Ji Jae-ryong, has shared the same political fate as the purged uncle, Jang Song-thaek, over the past three decades, and served as a “linking pin” between Jang and the Chinese leadership since he took up the post in 2010, the source said.
“So far, we have detected no unusual movements at the North Korean embassy in Beijing,” the source said on the condition of anonymity.
“It has also been business as usual for Ambassador Ji Jae-ryong and other North Korean diplomats,” the source said.
Last week, an intelligence source in Beijing said that the North Korean ambassador to Malaysia, Jang Yong-chol, who is a nephew of Jang, was believed to have been recalled home.
The wife and two 20-something sons of the North Korean ambassador to Malaysia were also spotted last week before boarding an Air Koryo flight in China’s northeastern city of Shenyang, multiple witnesses said.
Mr. Jang’s removal was announced several days ago by the South Korean intelligence service. According to the New York Times:
Mr. Jang’s apparent fall from power came after his two deputies at the administrative department of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea were executed last month on charges of “corruption and anti-party activities,” according to South Korean lawmakers who were briefed by intelligence officials in a hurriedly scheduled meeting at the National Assembly in Seoul.
The intelligence agency did not reveal how it learned of the executions, the lawmakers said.
“I don’t think Jang’s deputies were executed for mere corruption. Rather, they were executed because they established a ‘power,’ ” said Cheong Seong-chang, a senior analyst at Sejong Institute in South Korea.
Mr. Jang would not be the first No. 2 or the first uncle of the North Korean leader to lose power. Kim Jong-il plotted a purge of his own powerful uncle to solidify control after the death of his father, the North’s founding president, Kim Il-sung.
In July last year, Kim Jong-un removed his then No. 2 man, Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho.
Analysts said they suspected that Mr. Jang’s downfall may have been engineered by Kim Won-hong, who was made head of the nation’s secret police and spy agency in April last year, and Vice Marshal Choe Ryong-hae, who became the top political officer in the military under Mr. Kim. On Tuesday, the South Korean intelligence officials said North Korea’s secret police began investigating the corruption of Mr. Jang’s close allies this year.
The man considered the power behind the throne in secretive North Koreais believed to be out of a job, thanks to his nephew and leader Kim Jong Un, and it wasn’t immediately clear if this time he can find the way back.
Jang Song Thaek survived purges and official displeasure to reach the pinnacle of his career, thanks largely to his sometimes tempestuous marriage to Kim Kyong Hui, the 67-year-old daughter of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il Sung.
The Pyongyang power couple formed a kind of regency in the obscurantist political world of the North behind Kim Jong Un, its young and mercurial leader, who succeeded his father, Kim Jong Il, in December 2011.
“The most important thing for Jang Song Thaek is he has institutional memory – he knows where all the bodies are buried and that’s critical in North Korea,” said Mike Madden, a North Korea expert and author of NK Leadership Watch blog.
“He knows who has a drinking problem, and whose wife likes to talk to her relatives a little too much.”
The couple’s reach was augmented by their control over the ruling Korean Workers’ Party’s secret funds that handle the Kim family’s finances both at home and abroad, according to An Chan Il, a former North Korean military officer who defected to the South and has become an expert on the North’s power elite.
After his dismissal in 2004, Jang, 67, was rehabilitated to stand at the peak of power as Vice Chairman of the National Defence Commission, the country’s top military body, and was a member of the ruling Workers’ Party Politburo.
He has likely been sacked from both posts, according to South Korean lawmaker Jung Cheong-rae, who on Tuesday cited a senior South Korean official with the National Intelligence Service (NIS).
“Jang is both the greatest benefactor and the greatest threat (to Kim Jong Un)”, said Park Hyeong-jung at the state-run Korea Institute of National Unification in Seoul back in April.
Jang met Kim Kyong Hui when they were students at Kim Il Sung University. He had good looks and charm, was popular and outgoing, known more for partying and deftness with the accordion than his academic achievements, according to Hwang Jang-yop, a former Workers’ Party secretary and defector who was head of the school at the time.
PARTIES AND WOMEN
His humble background made Jang a less than ideal suitor for the headstrong daughter of North Korea’s founder. Yet Kim Kyong Hui did not let her father’s objections stop her from marrying – with the help of her brother, according to Jang Jin Song, a North Korean defector who previously worked at the Workers’ Party United Front Department, a propaganda unit tasked with destabilising South Korea.
The marriage was not a happy one, he said. As Jang Song Thaek started rising through the ranks of the Workers’ Party, he became less attentive to his family. It was an open secret that he partied hard and womanised, said defectors in Seoul and South Korean politicians who met Jang on a 2002 visit as part of an economic delegation touring the South’s industrial successes.
Their daughter, Kum-song, died in an apparent suicide while attending school in France, ironically because her parents objected to her boyfriend, according to Jang Jin Song.
Kim Kyong Hui herself had an affair with a young pianist who taught her daughter, according to Jang Jin Song, who recalled that a classmate of his at the Pyongyang University of Music and Dance had been a rival for Kim’s affections. The piano teacher, a former child prodigy and household name, and who was 10 years younger than his paramour, would soon disappear.
Kim Kyong Hui would be told he had committed suicide. But Jang the defector said Kim knew her husband had had her lover killed, one of a vast number of people to fall victim to a reign of terror Jang Song Thaek orchestrated in the late 1990s.
Before he became the power behind the throne under Kim Jong Un, Jang was ejected from the elite in 2004 for angering Kim Jong Il by hosting lavish parties, according to media reports and assessments by South Korean think-tanks.
Two years later, he was back, and in 2011 was widely credited with orchestrating the ouster of Army chief of staff Ri Yong Ho, a major rival who had been a loyal aide to the father of Pyongyang’s current leader.
Jang’s removal, if final, could mean Kim Jong Un has lost perhaps the strongest benefactor he could have to help his transformation into a ruler of the calibre of his predecessors, a factor that leaves the question of his future return open.
“Jang’s a big potato to get rid of,” said Madden of NK Leadership Watch. “They can’t get rid of him completely. If they do, they’re in trouble because this is the guy you do not want going to a foreign country.
“… Jang is basically a Kim Jong Il figure. Kim Jong Un does not have the intellectual capacity to do what his father did. His father was really in touch with a lot of things that Kim Jong Un is not.”
The North Korean authorities increased both Party and Chosun Union of Democratic Women’s fees in the run up to this year’s [Chosun Workers’ Party] Foundation Day on October 10th, and demanded that members pay in full and on time going forward. Members of both organizations are supposed to pay a small percentage of their wages in organizational dues on a monthly basis, but systems for payment broke down in the face of the social and political upheaval of the 90s and early 2000s.
“We recently replaced Party membership cards with ones containing images of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il together. That was done in accordance with the revised ‘Ten Principles [for the Establishment of the One-Ideology System],’” the source from Hyesan in Yangkang Province reported to Daily NK on the 31st. “For workers earning 3000 won a month, the base membership fee of 60 won was doubled to 120 won. At the same time as Party cards were replaced, members were told to normalize payment of their dues as well.”
“When they were given the order, a lot of people pointed out that they hadn’t been paying their fees on time because they hadn’t been getting paid on time, either.” The increase means that fees now constitute a total of 4% of a Party member’s basic official salary, although with additions many members are paid closer to 6000 won per month. The Women’s Union monthly fee has risen from 20 won to 50 won, the source reported.
The source also revealed reactions to the news. “Some have welcomed it because they think it may mean a corresponding rise in wages,” he said. “We’ll have to wait and see whether that happens; in any case, these things are an attempt to concentrate power over the people in the hands of the Party.”
The source also noted that a great many people have lost their loyalty to the Party anyway. “People’s loyalties have changed, and changing Party memberships won’t do anything to bring it back,” he concluded. “‘Shouldn’t they work to change the people’s hearts, first?’ That is the question. People are Party members in name only.”
Other sources also report that there have been extensive meetings and Party membership conferment ceremonies of late, as well as lectures on the sanctioned method of storing one’s membership card. “The authorities constantly drill into us that Party membership cards must be protected like one’s own life,” the source said. “There’ll probably continue to be strong controls on that, too.”
Read the full story here:
Dues Rise as Timely Payments Decreed Daily NK
Kang Mi Jin
The party has created a centralized department with branches throughout the nation to formulate and oversee policies ranging from appointment of top economic officials to approval of companies and implementation of foreign exchange controls, a source from Jagang province, near the border with China, told RFA’s Korean Service.
The Party’s Department of Economy was set up last month.
“From last June, each [Party] committee in the provinces and cities established a [a branch of the] Department of Economy,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
“It will further strengthen the control and management of the Party,” he said.
The move by the Workers’ Party Central Committee was part of a shakeup within the Party and led to several branches of existing departments being transferred to the Department of Economy, he said.
A source in Yanggang province, also along the Chinese border, told RFA that the newly-formed department would wield as much power as the Department of Organization Management, which oversees the entire Workers’ Party.
“From now on, all officials in charge of economic matters have to be approved by the Department of Economy, while all companies also require approval from the department when they are established, shut down, or merged,” the Yanggang source said.
The Department of Economy also has the power to punish and appoint officials in charge of economic matters, he said, adding that he expects it to become “the strongest department in the Party.”
Even if the North Korean military, judicial agencies, and the Cabinet—or executive branch of the government—seek to establish new units for earning foreign currency or production, they are required to obtain permission in advance from the department, he said.
“Establishing the Department of Economy is related to the so-called ‘reformed economic management system,” the source in Yanggang province said, referring to a new policy announced in June last year which grants individuals greater authority in the distribution of goods.
“It means the Party never wants to lose its control over the economy, even though the ‘reformed system’ takes place everywhere,” he added.
The source said that the lack of central control had led to situations in which bogus companies and organizations were running businesses and generating foreign currency revenue without reporting them, creating a need for the Party to more efficiently oversee these groups.
For example, he said, several companies and restaurants which were established under the guise of being welfare organizations to feed and clothe the poor are really generating foreign currency for the North Korean Cabinet.
But he noted that even as the Department of Economy sought to rein in these businesses, it would inevitably generate conflict within the Party as it grew in power, leading different factions to jockey for control.
“[Some of] the functions of [the Party’s] Department of the Executives and Department of Organization Management were already taken away by the Department of Economy, and also the Department of Administration has seen interference from the department as well,” the source said.
“In the future, the scope of Department of Economy’s activity will surely conflict with other departments of the Workers’ Party.”
Read the full story here:
North Korea’s Workers’ Party Takes Economic Control Radio Free Asia
Sung Hui Moon
DPRK Economic Development Committee launched: Special economic and tourism zones to be named (IFES)
In the wake of normalizing the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) agreement, North Korea has announced that it had installed the Economic Development Committee and named special economic and tourism zones, as well as newly appointed officials in charge. In the near future, North Korea has plans to announce specific special economic zones in Sinuiju, Nampo, and Haeju, along with tourism zones in Mount Baekdu, Wonsan, and Chilbosan. The head and director-level executives for the Economic Development Committee are likely to be appointed from the Joint Venture Investment Committee. The head of the Tourism Development is reported to be the former director of Korea Tourism Administration.
Meanwhile, North Korea has released the preamble of the economic development law adopted at the recent Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly held on May 29. As inter-Korean relations are progressing with the plans of restarting the Kaesong Industrial Complex and the reunion of separated families moving forward, North Korea’s economic development law is drawing attention once again.
In principle, the selection process for the special economic zones must possess these following elements: Area must 1) be in a favorable location for foreign economic cooperation and exchanges; 2) contribute to the economic and science and technology development; 3) be at a fixed distance from the residential areas; and 4) be at a location that does not intrude in the state protected areas (Article 11). This can be interpreted as the North’s effort to segregate the existing residential areas with the special economic zone similar to the Kaesong Industrial Complex so as to minimize the political and social impact of these zones.
The newly confirmed information for the new Economic Development Law is the list of development activities. “Investors from other countries are permitted to develop economic zones either alone or in collaboration after obtaining state approval (Article 20).” Evidently, North Korean institutions and enterprises may also develop economic zones after receiving approval from the state.
In addition, the law granted comprehensive property rights to the development companies. It states that “Companies have the right to sell, re-lease, bequeath, or transfer the ownership of the buildings and land lease” and “the selling or re-lease price shall be determined by the development company” (Article 29).
As for recruitment of workers, there is a provision that states “our country’s labor force must be given preferential consideration” (Article 41), and “the minimum wage for the employees of the Economic Development Zone shall be determined by central guidance organization of special economic zone” (Article 42). This poses some concern as the employee wage at the Economic Development Zone could be compared to that of the KIC, which could lead to wage disputes after the KIC begins to implement its internationalization process.
Another noteworthy change is the currencies permitted at the zone: “currency for circulation and payment must be Korean Won (KPW) or other specified currency” (Article 46), suggesting that other currencies such as the US dollar and euro will be allowed.
Furthermore, the Act specifies that “Companies in the economic development zone will decide on the commodity and service prices, and all the prices in the Economic Development Zone between institutions, enterprises and organizations shall be determined by the international market price based on agreement of all the parties” (Article 43). This suggests that the products produced in the zone may be traded domestically in North Korea.
In this Act, corporate income tax rate was set at 14 percent of profits and “Economic Development companies that operate for more than 10 years will be considered for a tax cut or exemption from the corporate income tax.” Article 58 grants “communication guarantees” for the usage of mail, telephone, and fax services, but did not include the use of the Internet.
UPDATE 3 (2013-8-30): In August, the Pyongyang Times issued the following information on the DPRK’s Law on Economic Development Zones:
New law friendly towards investment
The law on economic development zone was enacted and promulgated in the DPRK on May 29.
The Pyongyang Times staff reporter Kim Rye Yong interviewed Kang Jong Nam, PhD and researcher at Law College of Kim Il Sung University, about the law.
What is the difference between this law and other laws that are in force in such special zones as Rason Economic and Trade Zone, Hwanggumphyong and Wihwado Economic Zone and Kaesong Industrial Park?
The recent law is applied to economic development zones to be newly established.
According to the law, an economic development zone is the area where investors receive preferential treatment in their economic activities in line with the legislation specially laid down by the state. Such a zone includes industrial, agricultural, tourist, exports processing and cutting-edge technology development areas. It is a principle to establish such a zone in the area which is favourable for external economic cooperation and exchange, conducive to the development of the country’s economy, science and technology and somewhat distant from residential areas and reserves.
Foreign investors may develop the zone singly or jointly and DPRK institutions and enterprises may be developers.
The zone shall be invested by foreign bodies corporate, individuals (natural persons) and economic groups and overseas Koreans.
The law defines that the investors’ rights, interests, properties and lawful profits are under protection by law. The state shall not nationalize or expropriate their properties. Should unavoidable circumstances make it necessary to expropriate or temporarily use their properties for the public good, it shall inform them of this in advance and make a full and timely compensation for this.
The personal safety of investors is also protected by law. Without legal grounds they will not be subjected to detention or arrest and their residences will not be subjected to search.
Where there are treaties concluded between the DPRK and foreign countries as regards personal safety, they shall prevail.
How is an economic development zone managed?
It is managed by the economic development zone management body under the guidance and with the assistance of the central special economic zone guidance organ and the people’s committee of a relevant province or a municipality directly under the central authority.
The management body carries out assignments given by the central organ and the people’s committee including the formulation of rules of the development and management of the zone, creation of investment environment and invitation of investment, licensing of the establishment of enterprise and its registration and the licensing, supervision and cooperation related to the construction, management and operation of project.
The law stipulates that an investor can lease land for a maximum of 50 years and, if need be, continue to use the land by renewing the contract before the expiry date.
The enterprise income tax rate shall be 14 per cent of settled accounts profits and that in encouraged sectors 10 per cent, a very low rate. An enterprise that operates in the zone for over ten years shall enjoy the benefit of exemption from or reduction of taxes. Where an investor reinvests profits to increase registered capital or sets up a new enterprise to operate it for over five years, he shall be paid back 50 per cent or 100 per cent of the income tax.
Tariff in the zone is preferential.
The prices of goods and services dealt between enterprises in the zone and those of goods dealt between the enterprises in the zone and the Korean economic organizations outside the zone shall be fixed by mutual consent between the parties proportionate to international market prices.
North Korea passes economic development zone law
Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
Since the start of Kim Jong-un regime, internal economic management measures continue to be established. Recently, a new law was enacted for the establishment of economic development zones.
The KCNA reported on June 5 that a law for economic development zones was adopted and “in this regard, ordinance of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly’s Standing Committee was promulgated at the session on May 29.”
The legislation is composed of 7 chapters and 62 sections, which cover matters such as configuration, development, management, conflict resolution, and so forth.
The report added that “Economic development zones, in accordance with the regulations set forth by the state, are entitled to various privileges as special economic zones.”
In addition, “Foreign corporations, individuals, economic organizations, and overseas Koreans are able to invest in the economic development zones, and can freely engage in economic activities including establishment of businesses, branches, and offices.” It also indicated that “the state will provide preferential terms to investors in areas such as land usages, recruitment, and tax payments.”
The details of the rights granted to investors were expounded, emphasizing that economic development zone is a special zone, and provides legal safeguards to protect the rights, investment properties and legitimate profits of foreign investors.
According to the KCNA, the economic development zones will include various economic and science and technology sectors such as industrial development, agricultural, tourism, export processing, and high-tech development zones.
Chairman Kim Jong-un delivered a speech at the WPK’s Central Committee Meeting entitled “Economic Development Zones Must Be Created in Every Province Reflecting the Regional Characteristics,” hinting at the state’s policy to attract more foreign investment to accelerate the development of the economic zones.
In particular, investments in infrastructure construction, state-of-the-art science and technology sector, and production of goods highly competitive in the international market were especially encouraged.
The management of these economic development zones will be separated into local-level and central-level zones, indicating that economic development zones will be established in all parts of the country.
However, this law does not apply to the preexisting economic and trade zones in Rason, Hwanggeumpyeong, Wihwa Island, Kumgang and Kaesong. The new legislation indicates that North Korea is committed to economic development regardless of the tense relations on the Korean Peninsula.
UPDATE 1 (2013-6-23):Yonhap offers new details of the legislation not published by KCNA:
North Korea will offer a maximum 50 year lease on land for the economic development zones it wants to set up across the country to spur outside investment, an analysis of a propaganda magazine monitored in Seoul showed Sunday.
Close examination of the May 29 edition of the Tongil Sinbo, a weekly magazine that highlights activities taking place in the isolationist country, revealed the lease system.
The 50-year scheme for development zones is on par with land lease favors offered by Pyongyang to businesses operating in the Kaesong Industrial Complex and the Rason Economic and Trade Zone. The plan can offer assurances to investors, which can be a critical incentive.
Kaesong is on the west coast just north of the demilitarized zone, while Rason is located in the country’s northeastern region near the border with China and Russia.
In addition, the weekly said companies will be able to freely buy and sell rights on buildings and land in the economic zones and even hand over property deeds with a clause being fixed that can allow the present rights holder to release it to a third party.
Development of land leased can be assisted by North Korean state organizations and companies.
The weekly said Pyongyang has set corporate tax rates for these zones at 14 percent of earnings after the settlement of accounts, with the government pledging the safety of all foreigners in the special zones under North Korean law.
In regards to where the development zones will be set up, the weekly said the North will give priority to areas that can trade easily with the outside world, a region that can contribute to the advancement of the national economy, and a location that is separate from local residences.
The report said that all authority for the new development zones will be given to a centralized economic oversight organization to make it easier for investors to talk to authorities and receive administrative assistance.
Read the full story here:
N. Korea to offer max 50 years lease on land in economic development zones
Yonhap (via Global Post)
Pyongyang, June 5 (KCNA) — The DPRK enacted a law on economic development zones.
A decree on the law was promulgated by the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK on May 29.
The law has seven chapters (62 articles) and additional rules (two articles).
The law deals with fundamentals of the law, establishment, development and management of economic development zones, economic transactions in the zones, their encouragement, preference and settlement of complaints and disputes.
According to the law, economic development zones are special economic zones in which preference is granted as for economic activities under the laws and regulations specially provided for by the state.
The economic development zones include industrial development zone, agricultural development zone, tourism development zone, exports processing zone, ultra-modern technological development zone and other development zones in the fields of the economy and science and technology.
The state will assort the economic development zones into local-level economic development zones and central-level economic development zones and manage them according to their affiliations.
Foreign corporate bodies, individuals and economic organizations and overseas Koreans can invest in the economic development zones and also set up businesses, branches and offices and conduct free economic activities.
The state shall provide investors with conditions for preferential economic activities regarding the use of land, employment of labor, payment of taxes, etc.
The state shall specially encourage investment in the fields of infrastructural construction and ultra-modern science and technology and in the field producing goods with high competitiveness in international market in the economic development zones.
Rights granted to investors and investment properties and legal income are protected by law in the zones.
The law on economic development zones and regulations and rules for its enforcement will be applied as for economic activities like development and management of the economic development zones and the operation of businesses.
This law is not applied to the Rason Economic and Trade Zone, Hwanggumphyong and Wihwado economic zones, Kaesong Industrial Zone and Mt. Kumgang Tourist Special Zone.
Text of report by “Comrade Pak Pong Ju, member of the Political Bureau of the Workers Party of Korea Central Committee and premier of the DPRK Cabinet” at a central report meeting held at Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex on 1 May to mark the 123rd May Day, carried by North Korean radio Korean Central Broadcasting Station on 1 May
Today, we are meaningfully commemorating the 123rd anniversary of May Day, an international holiday of the working people throughout the world, at an exciting time when the entire party, the entire army, and all the people have turned out like mountains in the struggle to implement the line of simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of nuclear armed force presented by respected and beloved Marshal Kim Jong-un at the historic March 2013 plenary meeting of the Central Committee [CC] of the Workers Party of Korea [WPK].
May Day is a meaningful holiday for vigorously demonstrating all over the world the revolutionary mettle and militant might of workers, farmers, intellectuals and other working people of military-first Korea who are struggling devotedly for the fatherland’s wealth and prosperity in single-hearted unity around the party, and also for strengthening international solidarity with the working people the world over who are struggling for democratic freedom and rights and independent life by breaking the iron chains of capital. [applause]
On the occasion of May Day, our working people, who are enjoying the most dignified and worthwhile life on account of upholding an extraordinary heaven-sent brilliant commander, are extending militant greetings and firm solidarity to the working people all over the world who are fighting to build a just and peaceful new world under the banner of independence against imperialism.
Our working class and all other working people are now looking back, with deep emotion, on the proud course of victory and glory in which they have advanced with the matchless great men of Mt Paektu held in high esteem at the head of the revolution, and they are overflowing with a blazing resolve to complete the cause of the chuch’e revolution to the end under the wise leadership of respected and beloved Marshal Kim Jong-un, inscribing deep on their heart! s the luck of being blessed with the leader and the general, generation after generation. [applause]
The Korean revolution was unprecedentedly arduous and rough, but our working people were able to excellently carry out their noble historic mission and duty in the struggle to achieve the cause of the chuch’e revolution and the cause of socialism, thanks to upholding the great leader and the great leader.
The great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung put forward a broad range of workers, farmers, intellectuals, and other working people as masters of their destiny early on under the banner of chuch’e idea from the first days of setting out on the road of the revolution, and ushered in a new historic era, the chuch’e era, of achieving independence of the popular masses by activating their inexhaustible strength. [applause]
The great leader, who always paid deep attention to the position and role occupied and played by the working class and other working masses in implementing the popular ma! sses’ cause of independence, further heightened the revolutionary zeal of the masses by having them meaningfully commemorate May Day even amid the arduous struggle of the great anti-Japanese war, and vigorously encouraged our working people to the struggle to build a new fatherland by personally attending a Pyongyang mass rally held to commemorate May Day in the first year after national liberation.
During that difficult period after the war, the great leader visited the working class of Kangso’n and kindled the flames of the Ch’o'llima [mythological winged horse] movement, and warmly led our working people by hand to perform feats in socialist construction with his unsurpassed and tested leadership during every period and at every stage of the revolution and construction.
Forever will shine for ages, along with eternal prosperity of military-first Korea, the immortal revolutionary achievements of the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung who stayed a! mong the working people all his life and raised workers, farmers, and intellectuals into the most revolutionary working people upholding the party and the leader with faith and obligation and into the reliable persons in charge of building a wealthy and powerful fatherland, and built a socialist powerful state of independence, self-support, and self-defence on the land of the fatherland by arousing the boundless spiritual strength and united strength of the working popular masses. [applause]
The great leader Comrade Kim Jong-il cherished the completion of the cause of the chuch’e revolution pioneered by the fatherly leader as his lifelong mission and stood at the head of the revolution to firmly rally the working class and a broad range of the working masses around the party with his politics of love and trust and benevolent politics, and wisely led the popular masses’ cause of independence and the cause of socialism along a single path of victory with the might of single-hearted unity. [applause]
With enormous love and trust toward the workers, farmers, and intellectuals who loyally upheld the party and the leader while always sharing their destiny with the party both in days of glory and hardship, the great general had May Day commemorated as an international holiday of the working people all over the world from a chuch’e-oriented viewpoint, thereby reinforcing the single-hearted unity of our revolutionary ranks in every way and enabling a broad range of the working people to excellently discharge their responsibility and duty based on the awareness that they are the masters of the country and revolution.
The great general energetically led our working people to strongly arm themselves with the chuch’e idea and military-first idea; create the Kanggye spirit by following and learning from the revolutionary soldier spirit and fighting traits of the people’s army; kindle the torches of the grand march of great upswing one after another; and embroider chronicles of the vic! tory of socialism and a heroic epic of powerful state construction.
Thanks to the energetic leadership of the great general, who unfolded a new history of the great revolutionary upswing in the whole country and had millions of soldiers and people boldly charge ahead toward the world while breaking through the ultra-cutting edge with their spiritual strength in the course of carrying on an ultra-intense forced march day and night until the last moments of his great revolutionary life, the flames of Hamnam [South Hamgyo'ng Province], the flames of the industrial revolution in the new century, blazed up fiercely; marvellous events took place in multiple stages on all fronts of improving the people’s living standards and building an economically powerful state; and our fatherland came to demonstrate its dignity and majestic might as the great Mt Paektu state, the socialist power with nuclear weapons and satellites. [applause]
The sacred history of the great general’s leadership over the military-first revolution, in wh! ich he led the revolution and construction to victory by relying on the boundless creative ability and united strength of the working class and other working popular masses, is continuing vigorously through respected and beloved Marshal Kim Jong-un. [applause]
Respected and beloved Marshal Kim Jong-un is wisely leading the van of the anti-US war of confrontation and the struggle to build a powerful state with his extraordinary sagacity, unsurpassed art of command, and matchless courage and gusts while ceaselessly carrying on the road of the military-first long march, with the supreme command established on the foremost front of defending the fatherland.
The respected and beloved marshal is energetically leading our working people to struggle vigorously for the final victory, while clearly illuminating the course of powerful state construction and trusting and putting forward the working class and other working people as his revolutionary comrades! and comrades-in-arms.
By wisely discerning the natural-law governed demands of the grave situation prevailing before our revolution and the developing revolution, respected and beloved Marshal Kim Jong-un presented a new strategic line on simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of nuclear armed force at the historic March 2013 plenary meeting of the party CC. This is a great event in the history of the nation firmly guaranteeing the ultimate victory of the cause of the chuch’e revolution, which achieving the final victory in the anti-US all-out war of confrontation and the construction of a powerful state. [applause]
Our army and people came to be able to fight more powerfully with overflowing conviction of sure victory and optimism, thanks to the presentation of the new simultaneous line, which is a crystallization of the unshakable faith and will of our party to finally settle all accounts in the anti-US war of confrontation and build the world’s most powerful country and a paradise ! of the people on this land as soon as possible.
Our country is highly displaying the mettle of the great Mt Paektu state by firmly attaining the status of a space power and a nuclear power; an unprecedented great heyday of thriving prosperity is unfolding in all fields of the revolution and construction; and the party’s far-sighted plans to enable our people to enjoy wealth and honour under socialism to their hearts’ content are being realized one by one. This proud reality is a clear manifestation of respected and beloved Comrade Kim Jong-un’s extraordinary leadership ability. [applause]
Preciously etched in every chronicle of the Korean revolution embroidered with victory and glory are the creative passion and heroic feats of our working class and other working people, who have struggled devotedly for the fatherland and revolution with hammers, sickles, and writing brushes, remaining true to the leadership of the party and the leader.
The invincible majestic might of a socialist power possessed of nuclear weapons and satellites that no one dares to provoke; our-style CNC [computer numerical control] technology that broke through the world’s ultra-cutting edge; the majestic and splendid great monumental creations striking the world’s people with admiration and chuch’e-based production systems demonstrating the might of self-supporting economy; the modern production bases and marvellous socialist fairylands that sprang up everywhere; and other proud achievements demonstrating the high ideal and civilization of our people vividly show the indomitable spiritual strength and creative ability of our working people who are endlessly loyal to the party and the leader. [applause]
There are many countries in the world and each country has many working people, but there are no working people like our working people of military-first Korea who devote themselves to the cause of patriotism with their creative labours, while displaying their independent dignity as human! beings and enjoying a worthwhile and proud life in the arms of the extraordinary heaven-sent great men.
Truly, it is the supreme fortune and enormous honour and happiness of our working people to fight resolutely for a bright future of the new century, flying high the sun’s flag of great Comrade Kim Il Sung and Comrade Kim Jong-il highly praised by the entire world as the sun of mankind and holding respected and beloved Marshal Kim Jong-un, the military-first brilliant commander of Paektu, in high esteem at the head of the revolution. [applause]
On this meaningful occasion of commemorating the 123rd anniversary of May Day, the international holiday of the working people all over the world, by reflecting the blazing loyalty of the working people throughout the country, I pay the loftiest respect to great Comrade Kim Il Sung and Comrade Kim Jong-il who made forever immortal achievements in implementing the popular masses’ cause of independence, an! d extend the greatest honour and the most fervent gratitude to respected and beloved Marshal Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of our party and people who is leading the anti-US war of confrontation and powerful state construction to victory with his leadership over the military-first revolution and bringing every happiness to our working people. [applause]
Arising before us today is an honourable yet heavy task to thoroughly implement the new strategic line on simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of nuclear armed force, holding high the spirit of the historic March 2013 plenary meeting of the WPK CC, and thus defend the dignity and sovereignty of the nation, and build the world’s most powerful country and a paradise of the people on this land under respected and beloved Marshal Kim Jong-un’s leadership.
Respected and beloved Comrade Kim Jong-un has said that we will win without fail, as long as great Comrade Kim Il Sung and Comrade Kim Jong-il, who live forever in the hearts of all of! ficers and men of the people’s army and the people across the country, bless our bright future and we have the unrivalled powerful revolutionary army of Mt Paektu, the invincible great army-people unity, and the loyal people who uphold the party’s cause with conscience and obligation.
Cherishing an absolutely immutable faith that great Comrade Kim Il Sung and Comrade Kim Jong-il are with us forever, we should hold the fatherly leader and the great general in high esteem for all ages and add lustre to the glorious revolutionary lives and immortal achievements of the leader and the general through all generations. [applause]
We should spruce up the Ku’msusan Palace of the Sun all the better as a great monument to the immortality of the leaders, a symbol of the dignity of the Korean nation, and an eternal sacred place of the sun, and death-defying preserve it at the risk of our lives.
Holding fast to great Comrade Kim Jong-il’s behest as a programmatic guiding principle, all working people should implement it to the end unconditionally without an inch of deviation or the slightest concession and do all work of the revolution and construction in accordance with the general’s ideas and intentions and in the general’s style.
Respected and beloved Marshal Kim Jong-un, who is an extraordinary statesman and a distinguished military-first brilliant commander, is the destiny and future of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong-il Korea and the banner of all victories and glories. [applause]
Following the tradition of death-defying defence of the leader, we should uphold respected and beloved Marshal Kim Jong-un with pure loyalty, lofty moral obligation, and single-minded devotion, turn ourselves into fortresses and shields in innumerable layers to death-defying defend him, and firmly continue the Paektu road of march by uniting, uniting, and again uniting around the marshal.
All working people should hold high the spirit of the March 2013 plenary meeting of the party CC and thoroughly implement the line of simultaneously pushing forward economic construction and the building of nuclear armed force, thereby holding fast to and glorifying our idea, cause, and socialist system to the end.
We should vigorously turn out in the anti-US all-out war of confrontation and the great war of justice for the fatherland’s reunification to cope with the grave situation in which the aggression manoeuvres of the US imperialists and the puppet warmongers have reached the extreme, and maintain full combat and mobilization readiness to wipe out the aggressors without a trace and achieve the final victory.
All working people should actively assist the people’s army, which is a reliable scout party and a firm supporting point of the military-first revolution, ceaselessly bolster self-defensive national defence capabilities with the nuclear armed force as the backbone, and consolidate the great army-people unity like s! teel.
All working people should strongly arm themselves with the spirit of defending the fatherland displayed in the 1950s, and while always maintaining a strained and mobilized posture, should turn out like mountains in the sacred retaliatory war of justice once the respected and beloved comrade supreme commander gives the order, and by giving full vent to their long pent-up grudge and rage, they should mercilessly smash the US imperialists – the sworn enemies – and the puppet groups of traitors in an instant and accomplish by all means the historic cause of the fatherland’s reunification, the greatest long-cherished desire of our nation. [applause]
This year is a meaningful year marking the 65th founding anniversary of the Republic and the 60th anniversary of war victory.
With the faith of sure victory and exceptional resolve, we should fiercely stoke up the flames of miracle and innovation in all sectors of the people’s economy through a bold attack and an all-people life-and-death battle.
The working class of the leading sectors of the people’s economy and the basic industrial sectors should open up a breakthrough for victory in today’s march of great upswing with the same fighting spirit and the same vigour as displayed in implementing the party’s simultaneous line in the 1960s, as befitting the scout and forerunner of building an economically powerful state.
The working people of agricultural and light industrial sectors should fill up the country’s rice bin by doing the farming well in accordance with the demands of the chuch’e-oriented farming method, and improve the people’s living standards within the shortest span of time by increasing the production of quality people’s consumer goods based on a strong sense of responsibility that they are in charge of the main front of building an economically powerful state.
Holding high the torch of the industrial revolution in the new century by thoroughly embodying Kim Jong-il pat! riotism, the working people of all sectors and units of the people’s economy should boldly wage the battle of breaking through the ultra-cutting edge and more fiercely raise a hot wind for changing the country’s economy to a knowledge economy.
Scientists and technicians should ceaselessly develop our self-supporting nuclear power industry and space science and technology and thus continue to vigorously demonstrate the national power of the great Mt Paektu state with the same spirit they displayed in dealing a hard blow to the US imperialists and their following forces by developing space and succeeding in the third underground nuclear test.
The fatherland’s reunification is the most pressing task of the nation that cannot be put off any longer and the lifelong desire and behest of the great generalissimos.
Grave obstacles are standing in the way of the fatherland’s reunification and an ultra-tense situation in which a war may break out at any moment is prevailing in this land due to the vicious anti-Re! public hostile policy and frenzied nuclear war manoeuvres of the US imperialists, the sworn enemies of our people, and their following forces.
More firmly taking hold of the nuclear treasured sword of independence as the enemies’ manoeuvres grow more vicious, we will mercilessly punish the United States and all sorts of other hostile forces and realize the historic cause of the fatherland’s reunification without fail through final victory in the anti-US all-out war of confrontation. [applause]
Our working people will further boost their solidarity with the entire world’s working people who love justice and peace, and discharge their historic mission in defending peace and stability of the region and accelerating mankind’s cause of independence under the idea of independence, peace, and friendship.
Only victory and glory will be in store on the road ahead of our people, who are advancing dynamically along the road of independence, th! e military-first road, and the road of socialism under respected and beloved Marshal Kim Jong-un’s wise leadership with blessings of the great generalissimos. [applause]
Let us all single-heartedly unite around respected and beloved Marshal Kim Jong-un and firmly take hold of the party’s new simultaneous line to fight vigorously for the construction of a socialist powerful state and the fatherland’s reunification, and for the ultimate victory of the cause of the chuch’e revolution with overflowing conviction of sure victory and optimism. [applause]
Long live great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism! [applause and participants shouting hurrahs three times]
Long live the glorious WPK, the organizer and guide of all victories of our people! [applause and participants shouting hurrahs three times]
Long live May Day, the international holiday of the working people all over the world! [applause and participants shouting hurrahs three times]
Source: Korean Central Broadcasting Station, Pyongyang, in Korean 0800 gmt 01 May 13
On March 31, KCNA reported on the recent plenary meeting of the Korean Worker’s Party:
The historic March, 2013 plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea took place at the building of the WPK Central Committee, supreme staff of the Korean revolution, on Sunday.
First Secretary of the WPK Kim Jong Un guided the meeting.
Present at the meeting were members and alternate members of the WPK Central Committee and members of the Central Auditing Commission of the WPK.
Present there as observers were senior officials of ministries, national institutions, provincial, city and county committees of the WPK, complexes, major munitions factories and enterprises.
The participants paid silent tribute to President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il.
Taken up for discussion at the meeting were the following agenda items “1. On tasks of our Party on bringing about a decisive turn in accomplishing revolutionary cause of Juche as required by the present situation and the developing revolution”, “2. On personnel affairs issue to be submitted to the 7th Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly” and “3. On organizational matter”.
Kim Jong Un made a report and concluding speech on the first agenda item.
The plenary meeting set forth a new strategic line on carrying out economic construction and building nuclear armed forces simultaneously under the prevailing situation and to meet the legitimate requirement of the developing revolution.
This line is a brilliant succession and development onto a new higher stage of the original line of simultaneously developing economy and national defence that was set forth and had been fully embodied by the great Generalissimos.
It was stressed at the meeting that the party’s new line is not a temporary countermeasure for coping with the rapidly changing situation but a strategic line to be always held fast to, in the supreme interests of the Korean revolution.
The nuclear weapons of Songun Korea are not goods for getting U.S. dollars and they are neither a political bargaining chip nor a thing for economic dealings to be presented to the place of dialogue or be put on the table of negotiations aimed at forcing the DPRK to disarm itself.
The DPRK’s nuclear armed forces represent the nation’s life which can never be abandoned as long as the imperialists and nuclear threats exist on earth. They are a treasure of a reunified country which can never be traded with billions of dollars.
Only when the nuclear shield for self-defence is held fast, will it be possible to shatter the U.S. imperialists’ ambition for annexing the Korean Peninsula by force and making the Korean people modern slaves, firmly defend our ideology, social system and all other socialist treasures won at the cost of blood and safeguard the nation’s right to existence and its time-honored history and brilliant culture.
When the party’s new line is thoroughly carried out, the DPRK will emerge as a great political, military and socialist economic power and a highly-civilized country which steers the era of independence.
The meeting set forth tasks for carrying out the new line and ways for doing so.
All the officials, party members and other people should wage bold offensive and all-people decisive battle with faith in sure victory and strong determination and thus make the flame of miracle and innovation sweep all fields of national economy.
The pilot fields of the national economy, the basic industrial fields should be drastically developed and production be increased to the maximum. Forces should be directed to agriculture and light industry, key fields in building an economic power to improve and put on a stable basis the people’s living standard at the earliest possible date.
The self-reliant nuclear power industry should be developed and the work for developing light water reactor be dynamically promoted to actively contribute to easing the strain on the electricity problem of the country.
Spurs should be given to the development of space science and technology and more advanced satellites including communications satellites be developed and launched.
The country’s economy should be shifted into knowledge-based economy and the foreign trade be made multilateral and diversified and investment be widely introduced.
The economic guidance shall be fundamentally improved as required by the new situation and Korean-style advantageous economic management methods be completed by embodying the Juche idea.
The DPRK’s possession of nukes should be fixed by law and the nuclear armed forces should be expanded and beefed up qualitatively and quantitatively until the denuclearization of the world is realized.
The People’s Army should perfect the war method and operation in the direction of raising the pivotal role of the nuclear armed forces in all aspects concerning the war deterrence and the war strategy, and the nuclear armed forces should always round off the combat posture.
As a responsible nuclear weapons state, the DPRK will make positive efforts to prevent the nuclear proliferation, ensure peace and security in Asia and the rest of the world and realize the denuclearization of the world.
Institutions in charge of security and safeguard, judicial and prosecution and people’s security and the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces should resolutely foil the vicious moves of the imperialist reactionaries and class enemies, devotedly defend the party, social system and people and surely guarantee the new line of the party with arms and by law.
The party and working people’s organizations and power bodies should increase their militant function and role in every way in the struggle for implementing the party’s line.
The meeting entrusted the Presidium of the SPA and the Cabinet with the matters of taking legal, administrative and technical measures for implementing the tasks.
At the meeting a decision on the first agenda item “On carrying out economic construction and building nuclear armed forces simultaneously and thus bringing earlier the final victory in the cause of building a thriving socialist nation” was adopted with unanimous approval.
The second agenda item, personal affairs issue to be submitted to the 7th Session of the 12th SPA, was discussed and decided at the meeting.
The meeting also dealt with an organizational matter, its third agenda item.
Members of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee, members and alternate members of the Political Bureau were recalled and new ones were elected to fill vacancies.
Pak Pong Ju was elected to fill a vacancy of a member of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee.
Hyon Yong Chol, Kim Kyok Sik and Choe Pu Il were elected to fill vacancies of alternate members of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee.
Members and alternate members of the WPK Central Committee were recalled and new ones were elected to fill vacancies.
Upon authorization of Kim Jong Un, Paek Kye Ryong was appointed as director of the Light Industrial Department of the WPK Central Committee and Yun U Chol as editor-in-chief of Rodong Sinmun, organ of the WPK Central Committee.
Members of the Central Auditing Commission of the WPK were also recalled and new ones were elected to fill vacancies.
Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea Stresses Development of Agricultural, Light, and Nuclear Industries
Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on March 31 that a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea was held. At the meeting, a new strategic line was announced to have been set, which called for building a stronger economy and nuclear arsenal. This meeting is drawing attention as it is suspected that Pyongyang will pursue a new economic policy.
The news described the new strategic line as, “most revolutionary and people oriented policy for the construction of a powerful socialist nation by consolidating defense capacity through development of defensive nuclear weapons and economic construction.”
It stressed that this policy is significant as a “creative and parallel policy for defense and economy continuing the policies of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, which must be adopted as a permanent strategy.”
At the plenary meeting, the main agendas for the parallel policy of economy and defense were announced as: 1) Improvement of the production of people’s economy and capacity enhancement for agricultural and light industries to stabilize prices to improve the lives of the people; 2) development of self-reliant nuclear power industry and light water reactors; 3) development and launch of more satellites including communication satellites through advancement in space science and technology; 4) transition to knowledge economy and diversification of foreign trade to vitalize foreign investments; and 5) establish legislation to be recognized as a nuclear state and develop nuclear arsenal both in quantity and quality until denuclearization is realized worldwide.
At the plenary, the new parallel policy was commended, “The supremacy of the policy is demonstrated by expanding capability in war deterrence and national defense without increasing defense budget and enabled concentration on economic development and improvement of the lives of the people.”
The statement released by the KCNA stated that the plenary meeting’s emphasis on transition to knowledge economy and diversification of foreign trade as the main tasks and appears to be pursuing a “fundamental improvement in economic leadership.”
In addition, the plenary assigned the presidium of the Supreme Peoples’ Assembly and the Cabinet to serve as the economic control tower to oversee the future projects decided at the plenary meeting.
North Korea is continuing to place emphasis on light and agricultural industries. The Kim Jong Un regime entered its second year. The leader was reported to have attended the light industry conference, which was held for the first time in ten years and underscored the importance of concentrating on development of the capacity of light industry.
The new Korean line, 병진 (Pyongjin, Byungjin) is the simultaneous development of nuclear weapons and the economy. Learn more about it here.
Following the central committee plenary meeting, the 7th Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly was held. According to KCNA:
The Seventh Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) of the DPRK took place at the Mansudae Assembly Hall Monday.
Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, first chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK and supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, was present at the session.
Present there were deputies to the SPA.
Also present there as observers were officials of party, armed forces and power bodies, public organizations, ministries and national institutions and those in the fields of science, education, literature and art, public health and media.
All the participants observed a moment’s silence in memory of President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il in humblest reverence.
The session decided the following agenda items of the Seventh Session of the 12th SPA of the DPRK:
1. On amending and supplementing some contents of the Socialist Constitution of the DPRK
2. On adopting the DPRK Law on the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun
3. On adopting the ordinance of the SPA of the DPRK “On Consolidating the Position of Nuclear Weapons State for Self-Defence”
4. On adopting the DPRK Law on Developing Space
5. On adopting the decision of the SPA of the DPRK “On Setting up the DPRK State Space Development Bureau”
6. On the work of the DPRK Cabinet for Juche 101 (2012) and its tasks for Juche 102 (2013)
7. On the review of the fulfillment of the DPRK’s state budget for Juche 101 (2012) and state budget for Juche 102 (2013)
8. Organizational matter
The session discussed the first and second agenda items.
Deputy Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK SPA, made a report on amendment and supplement to some contents of the Socialist Constitution of the DPRK and on adopting the law on the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun.
Then followed speeches on the first and second agenda items.
Deputy Kim Ki Nam, secretary of the WPK Central Committee, spoke on behalf of the WPK, Deputy Choe Ryong Hae, director of the General Political Bureau of the KPA, on behalf of the KPA and Deputy Jon Yong Nam, chairman of the C.C., the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League, on behalf of the youth.
The speakers fully supported and approved of deliberation and adoption of the draft amendment and supplement to the Socialist Constitution of the DPRK and the law on the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun at the current SPA session reflecting the unanimous feelings of all party members, service personnel and youth across the country.
The ordinances of the SPA of the DPRK “On Amending and Supplementing Some Contents of the Socialist Constitution of the DPRK” and “On Adopting the DPRK Law on the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun” were adopted at the session with the approval of all deputies.
The session discussed the third, fourth and fifth agenda items.
The ordinances of the SPA of the DPRK “On Consolidating the Position of Nuclear Weapons State for Self-Defence” and “On Adopting the DPRK Law on Developing Space” and the decision of the SPA of the DPRK “On Setting Up the DPRK State Space Development Bureau” were adopted at the session with the approval of all deputies.
Deputy Choe Yong Rim, premier of the Cabinet, made a report on the sixth agenda item.
Deputy Choe Kwang Jin, minister of Finance, made a report on the seventh agenda item.
Then followed speeches on the sixth and seventh agenda items. Written speeches were presented at the session.
The speakers noted that the Cabinet work and the fulfillment of the state budget for last year were correctly reviewed and summed up, clear tasks of the Cabinet were set forth to meet the requirements of the general offensive to open an epochal phase in building an economic power at the final stage of the all-out action against the U.S. and the state budget was correctly shaped. They expressed full support and approval of them.
They expressed their determination to reenergize the overall economy of the country, step up the grand advance for improving the standard of people’s living to make loud shouts of hurrah for the Workers’ Party and socialism heard this year marking the 65th anniversary of the DPRK and the 60th anniversary of the victory in the Fatherland Liberation War, true to the historic New Year Address of Kim Jong Un and the decision of the March, 2013 plenary meeting of the WPK Central Committee.
The decision of the SPA of the DPRK “On Approval of the Report on the Work of the DPRK Cabinet and the Review of the Fulfillment of the State Budget for Juche 101 (2012)” and the ordinance of the SPA of the DPRK “On the DPRK’s State Budget for Juche 102 (2013)” were adopted at the session with the approval of all deputies.
The session discussed the organizational matter.
At the session Deputy Choe Yong Rim was recalled from the post of premier of the DPRK Cabinet and Deputy Pak Pong Ju was elected premier of the DPRK Cabinet at the proposal of the WPK Central Committee.
Choe Yong Rim was elected honorary vice-president of the Presidium of the DPRK SPA.
Deputies Kim Jong Gak and Ri Myong Su were recalled from the posts of member of the DPRK National Defence Commission (NDC) due to the transfer to other jobs.
Deputies Kim Kyok Sik and Choe Pu Il were elected members of the DPRK NDC to fill vacancies at the proposal of the WPK Central Committee and the WPK Central Military Commission.
Deputy Thae Hyong Chol was recalled from the post of secretary general of the Presidium of the DPRK SPA and Deputy Hong Son Ok was elected secretary general of the Presidium of the DPRK SPA.
Some members of the Cabinet were relieved of their posts and appointed at the session.
Deputy Pak Pong Ju, premier of the DPRK Cabinet, took an oath at the SPA.
KCNA also issued several reports that stemmed from the SPA meeting:
Report on Adopting Draft Amendment and Supplement to Socialist Constitution and Law on Kumsusan Palace of Sun
Pyongyang, April 1 (KCNA) — Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, made a report on adopting the draft amendment and supplement to the Socialist Constitution of the DPRK and the law on the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun.
According to the report, the draft amendment and supplement to the Socialist Constitution and the law on the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun to be submitted to the session for discussion will legalize the plan and intention of the Workers’ Party of Korea to fix by law the shining achievements made in accomplishing the cause of perpetuating the memory of the leaders and complete it on a new higher stage.
To be supplemented to the preface of the Socialist Constitution is the sentence which says that the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il lie in state is a grand edifice for the immortality of the leaders, a symbol of the dignity of the whole Korean nation and its eternal sacred temple.
The law on the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun specifies that its noble mission is to preserve and glorify forever the palace, which is the supreme temple of Juche, as the eternal temple of the sun of the entire Korean nation.
The law stipulates that Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il will be held in high esteem forever as in their lifetime at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun and that it is the obligation of all the Koreans to regard the Palace as a symbol of dignity and a great pride of the nation.
It also specifies the state duty to spruce up the Palace in a sublime and perfect way with the state, all-people and nationwide efforts and devotedly safeguard the Palace in every way so that no one can violate.
Also stipulated in the law are matters for carrying out the work of eternally preserving the Palace as the most important state work with consistency, organizing the committee for the eternal preservation of the Palace and preserving for photos, train coaches, cars, boat and other relics and orders which represent the noble lives of the great Generalissimos.
Orders were also set so that Korean people, overseas Koreans and foreigners can pay respects to the great Generalissimos at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun.
Also mentioned in the law are the matters of establishment of special sanctuary of the Palace for its protection and management as well as the management of buildings in the premise of the palace, park, arboretum, outdoor lighting and lighting facilities and orders concerning the operation of the plaza and the park of the Palace.
It was specified in the law that electricity, facilities, materials and other supplies needed for the Palace shall be planned separately and be provided without fail on a top priority basis. The law also set the duty to be fulfilled by relevant institutions to strictly supervise and control on a regular basis the work for safeguarding, eternally preserving and providing the conditions for the management and operation of the Palace.
The reporter said that the law on the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun is the unique code for the immortality of the leaders, adding that it is the biggest honor for the army and people of the DPRK to have the legal weapon for the immortality of the leaders.
The adoption of the law will serve as a historic occasion for defending and further glorifying the idea on perpetuating the memory of the leaders clarified by the dear respected Kim Jong Un, he stressed.
The reporter said that the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK submits the draft amendment and supplement to the Socialist Constitution and the draft law on the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun to the SPA session for discussion according to Article 95 of the Socialist Constitution.
DPRK’s Law on Kumsusan Palace of Sun Adopted
Pyongyang, April 1 (KCNA) — The DPRK’s Law on the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun was adopted.
The ordinance of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly on it was promulgated Monday.
The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il lie in state is the
eternal temple of the sun of the whole Korean nation.
The ordinance says that the SPA decides to adopt this law to eternally preserve and glorify forever the
Kumsusan Palace of the Sun as a grand edifice for the immortality of the leaders symbolic of Kim Il Sung’s and Kim Jong Il’s Korea.
Law on Consolidating Position of Nuclear Weapons State Adopted
Pyongyang, April 1 (KCNA) — A law on consolidating the position of nuclear weapons state for self-defence was adopted in the DPRK.
An ordinance of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK in this regard was promulgated on Monday.
The ordinance said as follows:
The DPRK is a full-fledged nuclear weapons state capable of beating back any aggressor troops at one strike, firmly defending the socialist system and providing a sure guarantee for the happy life of the people.
Having an independent and just nuclear force, the DPRK put an end to the distress-torn history in which it was subject to outside forces’ aggression and interference and could emerge a socialist power of Juche which no one dares provoke.
The Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK decides to consolidate the position of the nuclear weapons state as follows:
1. The nuclear weapons of the DPRK are just means for defence as it was compelled to have access to them to cope with the ever-escalating hostile policy of the U.S. and nuclear threat.
2. They serve the purpose of deterring and repelling the aggression and attack of the enemy against the DPRK and dealing deadly retaliatory blows at the strongholds of aggression until the world is denuclearized.
3. The DPRK shall take practical steps to bolster up the nuclear deterrence and nuclear retaliatory strike power both in quality and quantity to cope with the gravity of the escalating danger of the hostile forces’ aggression and attack.
4. The nuclear weapons of the DPRK can be used only by a final order of the Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army to repel invasion or attack from a hostile nuclear weapons state and make retaliatory strikes.
5. The DPRK shall neither use nukes against the non-nuclear states nor threaten them with those weapons unless they join a hostile nuclear weapons state in its invasion and attack on the DPRK.
6. The DPRK shall strictly observe the rules on safekeeping and management of nukes and ensuring the stability of nuclear tests.
7. The DPRK shall establish a mechanism and order for their safekeeping and management so that nukes and their technology, weapon-grade nuclear substance may not leak out illegally.
8. The DPRK shall cooperate in the international efforts for nuclear non-proliferation and safe management of nuclear substance on the principle of mutual respect and equality, depending on the improvement of relations with hostile nuclear weapons states.
9. The DPRK shall strive hard to defuse the danger of a nuclear war and finally build a world without nukes and fully support the international efforts for nuclear disarmament against nuclear arms race.
10. The related institutions shall take thorough practical steps for implementing this ordinance.
DPRK Law on Developing Space Adopted
Pyongyang, April 1 (KCNA) — The Law on Developing Space was adopted in the DPRK.
The ordinance of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly on it was promulgated Monday.
DPRK SPA Decides to Set Up State Space Development Bureau
Pyongyang, April 1 (KCNA) — The DPRK decided to set up the State Space Development Bureau.
The decision of the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) of the DPRK promulgated on Monday said:
The DPRK is a full-fledged satellite manufacturer and launcher.
It is an invariable stand of the DPRK to develop the country into a world-class space power by exercising its legitimate right to space development for peaceful purposes.
To step up economic construction and improve the people’s standard of living by radically developing the space science and technology of the country and guide and manage all the space activities of the DPRK in a uniform way, the SPA decides as follows:
1. The DPRK State Space Development Bureau shall be set up.
2. The bureau is a state central institution which guides and manages the supervision and control over the working out of a space development program and its implementation and space development work in a uniform way.
3. The Cabinet of the DPRK and other institutions concerned shall take practical measures to implement this decision.
Work of Cabinet for Last Year and Tasks for This Year
Pyongyang, April 1 (KCNA) — At the 7th Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly held on Monday, Deputy and Premier Choe Yong Rim made a report on the last year’s work of the DPRK Cabinet and this year’s tasks.
According to the report, last year electricity and coal production and the volume of railway freight transport increased amid the endeavors to shore up the four pilot fields of the national economy. Increase was also made in the production of a variety of industrial goods, the report said, and went on:
The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun was remodeled to be the supreme temple of Juche, the National Gifts Exhibition House, Pyongyang Folklore Park, Changjon Street, Rungna People’s Pleasure Park and other big edifices in the era of Songun have been built.
Big industrial projects such as the Huichon Power Station, Tanchon Port, Taedonggang Building Materials Factory were completed and technological updating and modernization of major factories and enterprises in the field of metal, machine, chemical and light industries have been pushed forward, consolidating the material and technological foundation of the national economy.
Satellite Kwangmyongsong 3-2 was successfully manufactured and launched and the third underground nuclear test by the use of smaller and lighter A-bomb of great explosive power was successfully conducted.
The bases for the production of cutting-edge technical goods were built and projects for the development of science and technology have been successfully carried out and the modernization of the information and communications field have been stepped up.
A law on the enforcement of the universal 12-year compulsory education was promulgated. This paved a wide avenue for consolidating the socialist education system and raising the quality of education.
In the field of health care, a telemedicine service has been successfully introduced. The DPRK’s players glorified the honor of the country at major international sports events including the 30th Olympic Games and other signal achievements were made in the field of cultural construction.
The reporter said that this year’s tasks are to realize at an early date the lifetime desire of President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il, who devoted their whole lives to putting the country’s economy on the level of a prosperous and powerful country and to making the people live with no more to desire in the world.
According to the report, this year the Cabinet will organize the economic work with a main emphasis on solving issues arising in the people’s living by shoring up the pilot fields, the basic industrial field, consolidating the springboard for building an economic power and concentrating all efforts on agriculture and light industry while regarding coal industry and metal industry as key fields.
It is necessary to increase the production of coal.
Technological updating and modernization of iron works and steel works will be stepped up while improving the bases for the production of Juche iron which have already been built in the field of metal industry. Strict measures for supplying raw materials and fuel should be taken to increase the production of rolled steel more than 3.5 times as compared with last year and thus meet the need for steel.
The field of railway transport will ease strain on transport by consolidating the material and technical foundation of railways.
The grain production plan for this year should be carried out without condition.
The whole country should make efforts for the reclamation of Sepho Tideland and the construction of stock-breeding bases and thus complete the creation of grassland within this year.
The production should be put at a high rate at major chemical factories and the percentage of locally available raw materials should be significantly increased. The production at mines, factories and enterprises in Tanchon area should be increased and exports be boosted to ensure in a responsible manner funds for improving the people’s living standard.
Big efforts should be directed to the construction of dwelling houses. Wonsan area should turn into a world-level resort and tourist destination and living environment and conditions be improved in provinces, cities and counties.
The state investment in the field of science and technology should be increased and the flame of industrial revolution in the new century be raised so as to bring about a decisive turn in building an economic power by dint of science and technology.
Ultra-modern technological goods of high competitiveness should be massively researched and developed. Scientific and technological issues arising in the technological updating and modernization of the national economy should be satisfactorily solved.
The state investment will be increased in education and the preparations for enforcing the universal 12-year compulsory education system be rounded off within this year and fresh progress be made in education, public health, literature, arts, sports and all other fields of cultural construction.
All the fields and units of the national economy should build under a long-term plan export bases for producing second-stage and third-stage processed goods and finished goods of high competitiveness at international markets by relying on locally available resources and indigenous technology. Latest scientific and technological achievements should be positively introduced to increase the varieties of exports and remarkably raise their quality.
Trade should be made diversified and multilateral while conducting a variety of trade activities. The joint venture and collaboration should be actively promoted and the work for setting up economic development zones be pushed forward.
Review of Fulfillment of State Budget for Last Year and State Budget for This Year
Pyongyang, April 1 (KCNA) — Deputy Choe Kwang Jin, minister of Finance, made a report on the review of the fulfillment of state budget for last year and the state budget for this year at the 7th Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly held on Monday.
According to the report, the state budgetary revenue last year was over-fulfilled by 1.3 percent, an increase of 10.1 percent over the previous year.
The plan for local budgetary revenue was carried out at 113.8 percent.
The state budgetary expenditure was implemented at 99.6 percent, an increase of 9.7 percent over that in the previous year.
44.8 percent of the total state budgetary expenditure for the economic development and improvement of people’s living standard was used for funding the building of edifices to be presented to the 100th birth anniversary of President Kim Il Sung, the consolidation of the material and technological foundation of Juche-based, modern and self-supporting economy and the work for face-lifting the country.
38.9 percent of total expenditure was spent for enforcing popular policies and measures for social culture under socialism such as the universal free compulsory education system, free healthcare, social insurance and social security, recuperation and relaxation systems as well as those for development of literature and art and building of a sports power.
Some of the total state budgetary expenditure went to national defence.
According to the report, this year’s state budgetary revenue and expenditure have been shaped in such a way as keeping the overall economy afloat and bringing about a decisive turn in stabilizing and improving the standard of people’s living.
The state budgetary revenue is expected to increase 4.1 percent over that last year.
Out of this, the transaction tax, main source of budgetary revenue, is expected to grow 3.5 percent, the revenue from the profits of state enterprises 6 percent, revenue from the profits of cooperative enterprises 5.3 percent, the revenue from the depreciation 2.8 percent and revenue from real estate rent 3.4 percent.
In the total state budgetary revenue, national budgetary revenue will account for 83 percent and local budgetary revenue 17 percent.
Provinces, cities and counties are envisaged to ensure expenditure with local import and put a huge amount of fund into national budget.
The state budgetary expenditure is expected to grow 5.9 percent over last year.
It was decided to increase expenditure in the field of coal, electricity, metal and railway transport 7.2 percent, the field of agriculture and light industry 5.1 percent, basic investment in capital construction and big overhaul 5.8 percent, the field of science and technology 6.7 percent, the field of education 6.8 percent, the field of public health 5.4 percent, the field of social insurance and security 3.7 percent, the field of sports 6.1 percent and the field of culture 2.2 percent.
Some of the total state budgetary expenditure will go for national defence.
A large amount of educational aid fund and stipends will be sent for the education of Korean children in Japan to promote the development of the democratic national education of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan.
The reporter called for working hard to glorify this significant year marking the 65th anniversary of the DPRK and the 60th anniversary of the victory in the Fatherland Liberation War as a year of gigantic creation and innovations, in hearty response to the historic New Year Address by Kim Jong Un and the decision made at the March, 2013 plenary meeting of the WPK Central Committee.
Here is what Yonhap had to say about the DPRK’s defense budget:
North Korea is expected to spend 16 percent of its budget on national defense in 2013, up 0.2 percentage point from the year before, the country’s state media said Tuesday.
According to the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, Finance Minister Choe Kwang-jin reported to a meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly in Pyongyang on Monday that the money is needed to effectively cope with “indiscriminate” provocations by the United States and its followers.
The paper, however, did not disclose the exact size of the defense budget, although South Korea’s unification ministry speculated that last year’s military budget totaled US$910 million.
The proportion of the spending plan compared to the overall budget, is the highest tallied since 1998, according to South Korean analysts.
From 1998 through 2002, the North is estimated to have spent 14.4 percent to 14.5 percent of its annual budget on defense, with numbers going up and being fixed at 15.8 percent in the 2007-2012 period, they said.
1. Here and here is KCTV footage of the SPA meeting.
The North Korean authorities are apparently proposing to reduce the size of hillside plots farmed privately from thirty pyeong down to ten (1 square meter is equal to 0.3025 pyeong), while all remaining acreage is meant to be handed over to existing cooperative farms.
A source from Hoiryeong in North Hamkyung Province told Daily NK on the 29th, “A cadre from the county Party Committee just told a packed meeting of the Union of Democratic Women that ‘the policy is that from this year all private plots of land are to be limited to ten pyeong, and the other twenty will be taken away and assigned to cooperative farms. That which is in the mountains will be used for planting trees’.”
The source continued, “We must also pay fifty won per pyeong in order to farm the ten pyeong that is allowed, and there will be severe penalties for transgressors,” before reiterating a common refrain in conversation with North Korean civilians: “The rations only last for three to four months anyway, so people have to live off their plots of land. Taking away their land is the same as taking away their food.”
From a state policy perspective, the step appears designed to refocus energies on cooperative farming activities, in the hope that this will increase the productive capacity of the official farming sector in an effort to attain the sort of production levels required for the implementation of the June 28th Policy of farming reforms announced domestically in July 2012. However, it is thought unlikely that this will come about, and, conversely, the source predicted that the measure, if widely implemented, would have a detrimental effect on overall output and decrease the amounts of grain entering markets.
Partly this is because, while people are not technically meant to hold more than 30 pyeong of private land, in reality many are cultivating more even than this; in many cases, more even than their formal work unit is responsible for. This is because only by farming soybeans, cabbage, radish and other agricultural goods are many able to eek out a secure living.
Read the full story here:
Farmers in a Muddle over Private Land Order
The Choson Sinbo, a Japan-based pro-North Korean newspaper, reported on November 9 that the role and the authority of the North Korean cabinet are increasing, especially in the planning and implementation of North Korea’s economic policies.
“North Korea is establishing new order and actions to maximize the potential of its national economy. The cabinet-government system and the cabinet-oriented system are being strengthened as economy-related matters are decided in cooperation with the cabinet,” the newspaper said.
The newspaper also commented that many North Korean news outlets are reporting on DPRK Premier Choe Yong Rim’s activities in detail, including his frequent visits to economic units, saying that “the central and regional party committees are committed to provide support and encouragement to the cabinet and various administrative and economic institutions so the workers can assume responsible roles in the economy.”
Putting the cabinet in charge of the economic sector is a major break from the past, where the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) enforced strict restrictions and control over all administrative and economic institutions.
In addition, the news also suggests that the recent economic revitalization efforts are being stressed at a different level than in the past. The report also mentions that North Korea is promising to “boldly go forward with all projects beneficial to the people of North Korea.”
Many high ranking economic officials from the cabinet are quickly moving in to take high-ranking positions in the WPK. Typically, economic experts remain in the cabinet for many years to develop their expertise.
However, this is quickly changing, as can be witnessed from recent appointments in the WPK. Han Kwang Bok, the former vice premier and minister of electronics industry was recently appointed as a director in the central committee of the WPK. Kwak Bum Ki, who was the vice premier of the cabinet (from September 1998 to June 2010) was recently promoted to the position of party secretary and director of the WPK’s Finance and Planning Department (since this past April’s Party Conference).
These recent promotions in the economic departments of the WPK show that people are being replaced by high-ranking and experienced officials from the cabinet, particularly in the departments of light industry, finance and planning, and science and education.
These changes and promotions of economic experts suggest that heavier emphasis is being placed on economic development and improvement of the people’s livelihoods.
North Korea’s recent changes in the cabinet and the WPK — although limited only to the economic sector — indicates a major shift in the decision-making process. The WPK normally creates policy and the cabinet executes it. However, by placing officials equally across these two bodies, it appears as though efforts are being made to minimize the friction between the two organizations and increase the effectiveness of the economic policy through cooperation.
A quick note related to the story below: I have located on Google Earth the Workers’ Party headquarters, headquarters of the Democratic Women’s Union of Korea, headquarters of the Kim Il-sung League of Socialist Working Youth, and the headquarters of the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea. The headquarters of the Union of Agricultural Workers of Korea, however, eludes me. If you have any idea of its location please let me know…
Andrei Lankov writes about the purposes of these organizations in the Asia Times:
In the early 1980s, when the present author was a student at the Soviet University, my teacher often described North Korea as a “country where meetings never end”. Having grown up in Stalin’s Russia, he knew a thing or two about meetings and indoctrination, but the North Korean standards appeared excessive even to him.
The more I interact with North Koreans, the more skeptical I become about how outsiders understand the working of a repressive system.
For outsiders, regime repressiveness is usually associated with an omnipresent political police, but it appears that other, less sinister-looking, institutions have played a major role in shaping the consent of the North Korean populace.
Read more of the article below…
Since its foundation in the late 1940s, the North Korean state has followed a zero tolerance approach in its dealings with dissent. The authorities strive to discover and punish/correct even minor deviations from the prescribed way of thinking.
But the political police only get involved in rare and extreme cases. In most cases, the real and alleged offenders are disciplined by their own peers and immediate supervisors within their “organization”.
Indeed, so-called “organizational life” has been a peculiar and omnipresent feature of North Korean life since the 1960s, even though it has declined in the past two decades.
Every single North Korean must belong to a cell of one (and only one!) organization, and this cell, usually consisting of one or two dozen people, has multiple opportunities to control and correct his/her behavior. There are five such organizations in the North, with each having easily definable and mutually exclusive membership – the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP), the Youth Union, the Trade Union, the Farmers Union and the Women’s Union.
Once a North Korean turns 14, he or she is expected and, indeed, required to join the Kim Il-sung Youth Union and stay there until the age of 30 (unless he or she is lucky enough to be admitted into the KWP at young age).
After 30, the lucky and socially ambitious can still theoretically join the party (not an easy undertaking), while the rest become members of the Trade Union or Farmers Union, depending on whether they work in the fields or on a production line. Even housewives, without a job, are not left out, since they are required to be members of the Women’s Union.
The rules are simple and unambiguous. An industrial worker in his late 20s will attend meetings and other activities of the Youth Union in his work place. Once he turns 30, he is required to switch membership to the Trade Union. He might marry a woman from the same factory, but if she decides to become a housewife (a very common occurrence), she would switch membership to the Women’s Union.
Typically, every organization holds three meetings every week, each one lasting between one and two hours. Two of the three weekly meetings are indoctrination sessions. Their participants are lectured about the greatness of the Kim family, the glories of the socialist economy and the depraved nature of the pro-American South Korean puppet regime, as well as about other similarly lofty, ideologically useful topics.
The content of the lectures is supposed to be memorized and tests are occasionally held, but examiners are not excessively strict.
This system makes sure that propaganda messages are delivered to every Korean. It is possible that people do not read newspapers (because North Korean newspapers are seriously boring) or do not listen to official radio, so the major ideas of propaganda are delivered straight to their workplace.
But it is another weekly function that seems to constitute the true core of North Korea’s organizational life – the so-called “self- and mutual criticism sessions”. In most cases, such sessions are usually held on a weekly basis.
During a criticism session, every member of an organization – in other words, every adult North Korean – is supposed to deliver something akin to public penitence and confession. He or she must admit some improper acts that he or she committed in the previous week.
Serious deviations are seldom admitted and discussed; people usually limit themselves to relatively trivial matters like, say, being a few minutes late for a job or not taking proper care when cleaning the shop floor.
Every act of public confession should be accompanied by a proper quote from Kim Il-sung (leader from 1948 to 1994) or his son Kim Jong-ll (leader from 1994 until his death in 2011).
Then a repentant sinner must be criticized by another member of the same organization. Usually both confession and criticism are kept short, taking hardly more than a minute or two per person.
In most cases, these sessions are essentially performances where people admit the sins they know to be relatively minor and hence harmless.
It is also known that future participants of the Saturday performance (“self- and mutual criticism sessions” tend to be scheduled for Saturdays) sometimes make preliminary deals and agree on who should criticize whom and for what.
Nonetheless, there is always the small but real risk of a public denunciation, a situation getting out of control, and therefore the sessions do exercise significant pressure over organization members.
If something more improper has taken place, a more specialized session can be conducted within the organization (often called “the ideological struggle session”).
When this is to be done, the offender is subjected to one or two hours of a verbal harangue, often of a quite offensive and rude nature. Usually, this is the way in which an organization deals with offenses that are too trivial to be dealt with by the police, but are nonetheless seen as relatively serious – like, say, frequent absence from work without sufficient reason, or traveling to another part of the country without obtaining a proper permit (and being caught there).
Through organizational life, the state ensures that every single North Korean is exposed to the official ideology and also gets regular training in the politically correct ways of conduct.
The slow but unstoppable disintegration of Kim Il-sung’s “national Stalinism” in the past two decades seriously undermined the foundations of organizational life. Nowadays, a majority of North Koreans make a living outside the official state economy and they have now become much less dependent on their workplaces and supervisors.
Increasingly, they see organizational life as a troublesome and time-consuming formality. They can nowadays negotiate a deal with their supervisors, getting permission to be absent from the workplace, if they pay a contribution to the factory’s budget – this is known as an “August 3 contribution” (after the date of a government decree that allowed such practice).
Tellingly, this contribution frees the payer not only from attending his/her workplace but also from time-consuming indoctrination and mutual criticism sessions – after all, the average adult North Korean is supposed to spend three to five hours a week attending these functions.
When the functions are conducted, they are much easier than was the case in the 1970s and 1980s. The meetings are shorter nowadays, and absenteeism – once almost unthinkable – came to be ignored if it remained relatively infrequent (or if the “August 3 contribution” had been paid).
This relaxation seems to be especially pronounced in the Women’s Union, since most North Korean housewives are much involved with the black market economy and hence, if compared to workers of state factories, have less time for the boring activities of their local Women’s Union cells.
Like many institutions of the “old North Korea”, organizational life is seemingly on the decline. But this decline is by no means complete, and a majority of North Koreans are still taken care of by their organizational supervisors. And these people make sure that even minor deviations from what is considered to be correct are likely to be discovered and censured.
Read the full story here:
North Korea’s ‘organizational life’ in decline Asia Times
This year, the North Korean authorities are once again emphasizing the need to strive for greater food production as the farming season begins, launching the annual 40-day total farm mobilization period with the words “Let’s mobilize the whole party, the whole nation and all the people to reach the grain production targets.”
Rodong Shinmun published editorials on the subject on both the 11th and again on the 12th, reflecting the emphasis being optimistically placed on solving food security issues in 2012. Kim Jong Eun also emphasized the same in his major statements on the 6th and 27th of last month, understandably so given that farm productivity has the potential to play such a decisive role in stabilizing the first full winter of his rule.
Inside sources say that the mobilization atmosphere is unusually intense this year in farming villages. Cadres and people alike are feeling the strain of Kim Jong Eun’s first season in charge, with the assumption being that this year could see severe punishments meted out for any wrongdoing.
A South Hamkyung Province explained to Daily NK yesterday, “The whole nation is out there supporting the farms, including enterprises affiliated with state agencies, upper middle school and college students and military bases. People are not allowed to be at home or in the streets. Restaurants are not open either. Everybody is out on the farms. It’s just like martial law, really brutal.”
“5 or 6 safety agents have set up a desk in the street and are stopping people passing by, confiscating their identifications and the bikes they are on and sending them to nearby farms,” he went on. “People can only pass if they have a confirmation slip from a cooperative farm management committee.”
“The markets are only allowed to open from 5PM to 8PM after farm work is done for the day, so excluding preparation and organizing time, there is only an hour or so that the market is open. Buyers and sellers are all super busy,” he added.
During the 40-day total mobilization period, school classes are halted and students sent off to farms for forty days carrying their food and bedding. Laborers, workers in administrative organs and members of the Union of Democratic Women all commute from home to local collective farms until the planting and seeding is done.
North Korea has had the policy in place since 2006. Prior to that, students still had to farm every day, but full-time workers and members of the Union of Democratic Women went out just twice or three times a month.
In 2006, five provincial Party cadres from North Hamkyung Province were caught enjoying a spa during the period. They were summarily kicked out of the Party and sent into internal exile with their families.
“Until last year we were able to get confirmation of attendance from farm management committee cadres by giving a bribe, but with this year being the first under Kim Jong Eun, those tricks are unlikely to work,” the source concluded.
Read full story here:
Farming Regions in State of Tension Daily NK
Choi Song Min