Archive for the ‘Political Bureau’ Category

Politburo meeting and 1st session of the 13th SPA

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

UPDATE 2 (2014-4-17): 3th Supreme People’s Assembly Holds First Session, Few Changes in Pak Pong Ju’s Cabinet
Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

The first session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) held by the Kim Jong Un regime concluded on April 9, 2014 showing no major personnel changes within the Cabinet. The existing regime will continue to lead the North Korean economy, and their recent economic reform measures are expected to gain momentum.

At this session, it was decided that North Korea will retain Prime Minister Pak Pong Ju as leader of the Cabinet, and that many of the other high-level officials will maintain their positions in economic affairs.

It is therefore expected that the Kim Jong Un regime’s economic reform measures, such as the expansion of farmers’ authority (through the Subworkteam Management System), the construction of economic development zones (EDZs), and the system promoting the independent economic management of factories (and all other production facilities), will be implemented smoothly and stably.

It is also expected that North Korea will ramp up the implementation of its economic management improvement measures due to their recent success, which exceeded the state’s expectations. This directly coincides with the decision to retain Pak Pong Ju as Premier, and is an effort to secure the stability, continuity and longevity of North Korean economic policy.

Only three high-level officials in the economic department were replaced at this first session of the SPA: Han Yong Guk replaced Kim Kwang Yong as the forestry minister, Kim Chon Gyun replaced Paek Ryong Chon as the President of the Central Bank, and Ri Je Son was appointed as the Minister of Atomic Energy Industry.

The Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry is presumed to be an expanded and reformed version of the General Bureau of Atomic Energy (GBAE), which previously operated as an entity under the Cabinet. Established in 2013 at the 7th session of the 12th SPA, the Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry is responsible for North Korea’s nuclear program, nuclear policy, and the “byungjin line”, a policy that emphasizes the parallel development of economy and nuclear weaponry.

In 2013, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) announced the establishment of the Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry, saying it will “both modernize and systemize the nation’s atomic energy industry.” In the announcement, the KCNA also said, “because [the Ministry] has been founded on a firm base of cutting-edge technology, both the production and quality of nuclear materials will increase, and development will be made in self-sustaining nuclear powered industries.”

The newly appointed Ri Je Son has served as the General Director of the GBAE since 1997, and was the target of United Nations Security Council sanctions after North Korea’s second nuclear test in 2009.

Han Yong Guk has risen up through the ranks in the forestry sector, and Kim Chon Gyun has previously served as both director and vice-president of the Central Bank of the DPRK.

These small changes in Cabinet personnel do in fact signify efforts to maintain the stability of the nation’s economic policy, but the fact that these changes are so few in number also signifies that, after the execution of Jang Song Thaek, “re-shuffling” of personnel within the Cabinet had already taken place to some degree.

Before his execution, Jang Song Thaek had influences on many ministries within the Cabinet, including the ministries of commerce, metal and coal industries, and the Cabinet’s Extractive Industries. Since his execution, North Korea has replaced the head of these ministries.

UPDATE 1 [1st session of SPA] (2014-4-9): KCNA has posted many articles on the first session of the SPA. I have archived the important ones below:

Story 1: 1st Session of 13th SPA of DPRK Held  (KCNA) (PDF). Notes: Kim Jong-un elected as First Chairman of the NDC. State posts determined. One interesting agenda item was not elaborated on: “2. Election of the State Guidance Organ of the DPRK”.

Story 2: DPRK National Defence Commission Elected (KCNA):

Pyongyang, April 9 (KCNA) — The following National Defence Commission was elected at the First Session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK:

First chairman of the NDC of the DPRK Kim Jong Un

Vice-chairmen of the NDC Choe Ryong Hae, Ri Yong Mu and O Kuk Ryol

Members of the NDC Jang Jong Nam, Pak To Chun, Kim Won Hong, Choe Pu Il and Jo Chun Ryong.

Yonhap reports on Choe Ryong-hae:

Choe Ryong-hae, a top military official, has become a truly influential figure second to only North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on April 9 when the newly launched North Korean parliament elected him as new vice chairman of the communist country’s most powerful body, National Defense Commission (NDC), during its first session.

Choe, the director of the North Korean army’s General Political Bureau, took up the mighty post that had been kept vacant since Jang Song-thaek, a powerful uncle of the North Korean leader, was executed on treason charges in December.

With his NDC appointment, Choe has grabbed all of the No. 2 positions of the North’s three core power bodies, the Political Bureau of the Workers’ Party’s Central Committee and the party’s Central Military Commission.

Story 3: Presidium of Supreme People’s Assembly of DPRK Elected (KCNA):

Pyongyang, April 9 (KCNA) — The following Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK was elected at the First Session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly:

President of the Presidium of the SPA of the DPRK Kim Yong Nam

Its Vice-Presidents Yang Hyong Sop and Kim Yong Dae

Its Honorary Vice-Presidents Kim Yong Ju and Choe Yong Rim

Its Secretary General Hong Son Ok

Its Members Kim Yang Gon, Thae Jong Su, Jon Yong Nam, Hyon Sang Ju, Ri Myong Gil, Kim Jong Sun, Kim Wan Su, Ryu Mi Yong, Kang Myong Chol, Kang Su Rin and Jon Kyong Nam.

Story 4: Members of DPRK Cabinet Appointed (KCNA) (PDF).

Yonhap reports:

Meanwhile, the North apparently opted for stability by making no dramatic changes in a Cabinet shakeup, which the parliament rubber-stamped during its session.

The North’s octogenarian titular head of state, Kim Yong-nam, retained his position as president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, with Premier Pak Pong-ju also keeping his job.

What is notable is that the North replaced its foreign minister. Ri Su-yong, a former ambassador to Switzerland, was named to replace Pak Ui-chun as the top diplomat of the communist country.

Ri is known to have served as a guardian of leader Kim and his younger sister Kim Yo-jong when they studied at an international school in Switzerland in the 1990s.

NK News reports on other changes:

Mun Myong Hak replaced Ri Yong Yong as Minister of Coal Industry
Kim Yong Gwang replaced Han Hyo Yon as Minister of Metallurgical Industry
Ri Hak Chol replaced Kang Min Chol as Minister of Mining Industry
Han Ryong Guk replaced Kim Kwang Yong as Minister of Forestry
Kim Kyong Nam replaced Ri Song Ho as Minister of Commerce
Pak Chun Nam replaced Hong Kwang Sun as Minister of Culture
Kim Chon Gyun replaced Paek Ryong Chon as President of the Central Bank
Pak Myong Chol replaced Kim Pyong Ryul as President of the Supreme Court (not a cabinet position)

Story 5: Director of Supreme Public Prosecutors Office Appointed, President of Supreme Court Elected (KCNA)

Pyongyang, April 9 (KCNA) — The 1st Session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK appointed Jang Pyong Gyu as director of the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office and elected Pak Myong Chol as president of the Supreme Court.

Story 6: Panel Committees of SPA of DPRK Elected (KCNA)

The following Legislation Committee and Budget Committee, panel committees of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK, were elected at the 1st Session of the 13th SPA of the DPRK:

Legislation Committee of the SPA of the DPRK
Chairman Choe Pu Il
Members Jang Pyong Gyu, Pak Myong Chol, Pak Thae Dok, Thae Hyong Chol, Cha Hui Rim and Pak Myong Guk.

Budget Committee of the SPA of the DPRK
Chairman O Su Yong
Members Pak Yong Ho, Kye Yong Sam, Hong So Hon, Kim Hui Suk, Choe Yong Il and Pak Hyong Ryol.

Story 7: Statistics on the SPA members (KCNA)

The elected deputies to the SPA are the genuine people’s representatives who are devoting themselves to strengthening the DPRK government and accomplishing the revolutionary cause of Juche, remaining loyal to the idea and guidance of supreme leader Kim Jong Un.

Among the SPA deputies are anti-Japanese revolutionary fighters who participated in the anti-Japanese armed struggle led by President Kim Il Sung and veterans of the Fatherland Liberation War.

17.2 percent of the deputies are service personnel who are performing shining feats at posts to defend the country and worksites to build a rich and powerful country, true to the Songun revolutionary leadership of Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un.

Workers account for 12. 7 percent, cooperative farmers 11.1 percent and women 16.3 percent. They are bringing about shining labor innovations in the van of the heroic advance to build a thriving socialist nation.

Also among the deputies are officials of the party and power bodies, administrative and economic organs and working people’s organizations, those in the fields of science, education, public health, literature and arts and media and various other sectors and those of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan and organizations under it.

Winners of Order of Kim Il Sung, Kim Il Sung Prize, Order of Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Il Prize account for 30.2 percent, recipients of the titles of the DPRK hero and labor hero 14. 6 percent and recipients of academic degrees and titles including professors and doctors and scientists, technicians and experts 91.7 percent.

3.9 percent of the deputies are aged below 39, 66.9 percent 40-59, 29.2 percent above 60 and 94.2 percent of them graduated from universities or received similar level of education.

Story 8: Report on Implementation of State Budget for 2013 and State Budget for 2014 (KCNA)(PDF).

16% of the total expenditure was spent for national defence, thus contributing to smashing the enemies’ reckless moves to ignite a nuclear war and the anti-DPRK confrontation racket and powerfully demonstrating the dignity and might of the DPRK.

45.2% of the total expenditure went to the field of economic construction to consolidate the foundation of the self-supporting economy, bring a surge in the production in various fields of the national economy including agriculture and usher in a heyday in construction.

38.8% of the total expenditure was spent for the field of cultural construction including education, healthcare, sports and music and arts, contributing to the enforcement of popular policies and the building of a highly-civilized socialist nation.

This year’s state budgetary revenue and expenditure have been shaped in such a manner as to meet the financial needs for realizing the Party’s plan to build a thriving nation as early as possible and carrying out the national economy plan.

The state budgetary revenue is expected to grow 4.3% over last year. Out of this, transaction revenue is expected to swell 4.5%, the revenue from the profits of state enterprises 7.9%, that from the profits of cooperative organizations 4.8%, that from real estate rent 9.5%, that from social insurance 5.1%, that from sale of properties and price differential 2.4%, other revenues 1.7% and the revenue from economic and trade zone 5.1%.

This year’s state budget envisages that provinces, cities and counties will ensure the expenditure with their own incomes and deliver revenue to the national budget for their fulfillment of the plan for local budgetary revenue and expenditure.

The state budgetary expenditure is expected to increase 6.5% over last year. Out of this, spending for the fields of agriculture, stockbreeding and fishery is expected to go up 5.1%, that for capital construction 4.3%, that for science and technology 3.6%, that for the vanguard sector of the national economy and the fields of basic industry and light industry 5.2%, that for education 5.6%, that for healthcare 2.2%, that for social insurance and social security 1.4%, that for sports 17.1% and that for culture 1.3%.

15.9% of the total state budgetary expenditure is expected to be spent for national defence this year and a huge amount of educational aid fund and stipends is to be sent to the children of Koreans in Japan.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s Korea Real Time:

The last publicly available figure for Pyongyang’s annual budget, in 2008, was 451.3 billion North Korean won. Based on the latest available market rate, that would be roughly equivalent to $61.8 million. Using that figure to calculate spending on national defense would give a figure of around $8.65 million.

Here are the pictured from Rodong Sinmun:

 2014-04-10-SPA-1

 

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2014-04-10-SPA-3

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

1. The Daily NK has an interview with a participant in the 12th SPA.

2. Here is 13th SPA “election” coverage.

ORIGINAL POST [Politburo] (2014-4-9): KCNA reports on the meeting of the Political Bureau of the Worker’s Party:

Meeting of Political Bureau of C.C., WPK Held under Guidance of Kim Jong Un

Pyongyang, April 8 (KCNA) — A meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea was held under the guidance of 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, on April 8.

It was attended by members of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the C.C., the WPK, and members and alternate members of the Political Bureau of the C.C., the WPK.

Vice-premiers of the Cabinet and some department directors, first vice-department directors and vice-department directors of the C.C., the WPK were present at the meeting as observers.

The meeting discussed the issue of reinforcing the organization for increasing the leadership role and function of the Party as required by the developing revolution.

It discussed a proposal for forming the state leadership body to be submitted to the First Session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly.

It also discussed an organizational matter.

Decisions on the relevant agenda items were unanimously adopted at the meeting.

Kim Jong Un at the meeting set forth important tasks to be fulfilled to further strengthen the WPK to be an invincible revolutionary party, firmly protect the dignity and sovereignty of the country and dynamically accelerate the work to improve the standard of the people’s living and the building of a rich and powerful country.

The meeting held under the guidance of Kim Jong Un marks a historic occasion that encouraged the service personnel and people in the struggle to dynamically advance along the road of independence, Songun and socialism under the uplifted banner of great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism and provided an important milestone in bringing earlier the building of a thriving nation and a great revolutionary event of national reunification.

Here are photos from Rodong Sinmun:

2014-04-09-politburo-1

 

2014-04-09-politburo-2

 

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Here is coverage in the Daily NK.

Read the full story here:
Meeting of Political Bureau of C.C., WPK Held under Guidance of Kim Jong Un
KCNA
2014-4-8

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Jang Song-thaek purge [UPDATED]

Monday, December 9th, 2013

UPDATE 26 (2014-4-7): More rumors from the Chosun Ibo on the purge of Jang song-thaek:

The North Korean regime has shut down the Workers Party department once headed by purged eminence grise Jang Song-taek and executed or interned 11 high-ranking officials, sources said Sunday.

One of them was burned alive.

A source said the regime is preparing a third purge of officials who supported Jang. The first purge involved his family, relatives and high-ranking party officials, while the second purge underway. The third will target his supporters in provincial chapters of the Workers Party.

The source said Jang’s elder sister Kye-sun and her husband and ambassador to Cuba Jon Yong-jin, as well as their son-in-law Kim Yong-ho, who was head of a trading company, were executed. But ambassador to Malaysia Jang Yong-chol, Jang’s nephew, escaped with his life.

He was sent to a concentration camp shortly after Jang Song-taek’s execution but was ordered to return to Pyongyang without a job after South Korean media reported rumors of his execution, the source added.

Jang’s closest confidants Ri Yong-ha and Jang Su-gil as well as nine other high-ranking party officials were purged, while around 100 lower-ranking party officials loyal to Jang were sacked.

O Sang-hon, a deputy minister at the Ministry of Public Security, was “executed by flamethrower,” the source said.

The reason for the horrific method that he had turned the ministry into Jang’s personal protection squad, the source added. O managed a bureau in the ministry as his personal security service and raised its status to the same rank as officials guarding leader Kim Jong-un.

UPDATE 25 (2014-2-13): The DPRK has a new ambassador to Laos.

UPDATE 24 (2014-2-8): KCNA reports that the DPRK has replaced its ambassador to Nepal:

DPRK Ambassador to Nepal Appointed
Pyongyang, February 8 (KCNA) — Kim Yong Hak was appointed as DPRK ambassador to Nepal, according to a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK.

UPDATE 25 (2014-2-5): RFA reports that dozens of entertainers and performers linked to Jang Song-thaek have been imprisoned:

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the jailing of 40 popular actors and actresses as part of his relentless crackdown on those closely linked to his executed uncle, sources say.

Jang Song Thaek’s execution two months ago followed a massive purge in the government and military, and Kim seems to be moving now to flush out Jang’s allies in the entertainment industry, according to the sources.

“About 40 entertainers, referred to as a group linked to Jang Song Thaek, have been sent to Soosung prison in Chongjin in North Hamgyong province,” a source told RFA’s Korean Service, referring to a detention facility that is usually reserved for “first class” political prisoners.

“I heard this from a North Korean official of North Hamgyong province who is in charge of earning foreign currency,” the source said, as if to reinforce the credibility of his information.

The source said he was informed that entertainers belonging to such popular groups as the Chosun Art Film Studio, Pyongyang Circus Troupe, and Mansudae Art Theater were taken to the prison facility on Jan. 17 in two trucks.

Among those thrown in prison were Ryu Jin Ah, a singer with the Moranbong Band who was known to be Jang’s “lover,” and Li Yik Seung, an actor with Chosun Art Film Studio believed to be involved in “procuring” actresses for Jang and officials close to him, another source said.

The Moranbong Band made a public appearance in July 2012 on Kim’s orders and Ryu was bestowed a top entertainer title a year later, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

Li, who won the Kim Jong Il Award in February 2012, played the role of a mine owner in “Comrade Kim Goes Flying,” a 2012 romantic comedy film co-produced by North Korea, Britain, and Belgium.

‘Womanizing problem’

The second source, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Ryu and Li were linked to the 67-year-old Jang’s “womanizing problem,” cited as among reasons for his execution aside from the more serious charges of attempting to overthrow the government and seize power from his nephew.

“It is well known among residents in North Hamgyong province that a number of entertainers have been confined in the Soosung prison in Chongjin,” the source said.

A former Japanese chef for the Kim family told RFA recently that Kim had ordered Jang’s execution for his role in procuring teenage girls to satisfy the sexual desires of Kim’s father and Jang himself.

Chef Kenji Fujimoto said that by having Jang killed, Kim “wanted to prove that he’s different” from his father Kim Jong Il and his grandfather Kim Il Sung, both of whom he said had “quite a history with women.”

Fujimoto, who was Kim Jong Il’s personal sushi chef from 1988 to 2001, claimed that aside from his official duties as de facto number two to Kim Jong Il, the 67-year-old Jang had been in charge of a “pleasure division” tasked with recruiting girls aged 15-16 years for the late dictator.

In his New Year message broadcast on state TV, Kim Jong Un defended the execution of his uncle—who was married to his father’s sister—saying it was a “resolute action” and labeling Jang “scum.”

Jang was also de facto number two under the junior Kim before his execution and was considered instrumental in his rise to power in December 2011.

Sources inside North Korea had told RFA earlier that Kim was already purging the country’s military officer corps of personnel linked to Jang in a massive shake-up that has led to a freeze on military exercises and delayed replacement of cadres in the ruling party but raised promotion prospects for younger officers.

UPDATE 23 (2014-2-3): The DPRK’s ambassador to the United Kingdom gave an interview in which he discussed the purge of Jang Song-thaek. According to the Hankyoreh:

Hyun Hak-bong, North Korean ambassador to the United Kingdom, told the UK’s Sky News that Jang Song-thaek, former head of the administrative division of the Korean Workers’ Party, was executed for misappropriation of public funds.

When the subject of Jang came up in an interview on Jan. 30, Hyun said that Jang was sentenced to death in the court according to the law and that he was shot to death. This is the first time that a North Korean official has explained on the record why and how Jang was executed. Asked about the crimes Jang was charged with, Hyun said that he had committed the acts in question, anti-state acts, and that he had abused his authority and driven the North Korean economy into the ground. Hyun said that among Jang’s crimes was the misuse of 4.6 million euros in 2009.

In 2009, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s father Kim Jong-il was still alive. This implies that after Kim Jong-un took power, he suddenly took issue with something that had happened four years earlier.

In regard to this, Hyun said that the party had forgiven Jang’s behavior on several occasions in the past, but that this time his actions went “beyond the red line,” stressing that execution had been the only option.

Addressing reports that Jang’s family and relatives had been killed as well, Hyun called these fabricated reports and dismissed them as “political propaganda by our enemies.” However, when the interviewer asked Hyun if Jang’s family was still alive, the ambassador avoided a definitive response. “I know he was punished but if his family were punished or not, I don’t know,” Hyun said.

UPDATE 22 (2014-1-28): Rimjingang offers some speculation on the continued purges of Jang’s associates.

UPDATE 21 (2014-1-22): Alexandre Mansourov  provides a detailed chronology of Jang’s fall from grace in 38 North.

UPDATE 20 (2014-1-20): Choson Ilbo reports that O Kuk-ryol has been taking over Jang’s portfolio:

A senior North Korean source on Sunday said O is gaining control of the financial operations of the National Defense Commission that was once managed by Jang as well as other business interests.

O has crucially gained control of agencies in charge of bringing in foreign currency such as a body created by Jang to develop an economic zone in Sinuiju near the border with China.

He has thus regained rights to the development of Rajin-Sonbong port, exports of seafood and gold mining that Jang stripped him of in 2010.

Radio Free Asia in the U.S. reported that companies managed by O have had exclusive control of LPG import licenses from China and Russia since Jang’s execution.

UPDATE 19 (2014-1-6): Pyongyang has replaced its coal industry and metal industry ministers. According to the Korea Herald

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Sunday introduced Mun Myong-hak as coal industry minister, a position held by Rim Nam-su at least until a year ago, while reporting on the 30th anniversary of a coal mining complex in the western province of South Pyongan.

The charges culminating in Jang’s death unveiled by the KCNA included underpricing overseas “precious underground resources including coal” and land within an up-and-coming special economic zone.

The mineral-rich North has long been seeking to shore up its crumbling economy through exports of coal, iron ore, hard coal and other resources, mostly to China.

Seoul’s spy chief Nam Jae-joon late last month ascribed Jang’s shock purge to discords among the elite over lucrative coal export business.

It remains unclear, however, whether Jang and Rim had had a close relationship.

Former manager of a youth coal mine in South Pyongan, Mun was twice named a member of the Supreme People’s Assembly, in 2003 and 2009, before being introduced last January as head of a youth coal mining complex in Sunchon in the region.

His appointment was the latest in an ongoing personnel shakeup in Pyongyang.

On Thursday, Korean Central Television introduced Kim Yong-kwang as metal industry minister as it aired the reactions of ministry officials to Kim Jong-un’s New Year address. His predecessor Han Hyo-yon last appeared in state media last June.

Kim was vice metal industry minister from June 2008 and manager of a mining complex in Musan, North Hamgyong Province, from December 2011, and was nominated to the steering committee of the funeral of late leader Kim Jong-il around then.

“Our metal industry will actively contribute to strengthening national power by bringing up the working classes’ combative enthusiasm and reproducing steel,” he told the broadcaster on Thursday.

The Choson Sinbo, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper in Japan, said last month that Kim Jong-ha has become secretary of the Cabinet secretariat, succeeding Kim Yong-ho.

UPDATE 18 (2013-12-30): North Korea has recalled its deputy ambassador to UNESCO. According to Yonhap:

North Korea’s deputy ambassador to UNESCO was called back to Pyongyang from Paris on Monday, a diplomatic source said, marking the latest summoning of North Korean diplomats following the recent execution of leader Kim Jong-un’s uncle.

Hong Yong, the North’s deputy permanent delegate to UNESCO, and his wife were spotted at the Beijing airport before boarding an Air Koryo flight earlier in the day, the source said on the condition of anonymity.

Last week, the North’s ambassador to Sweden, Pak Kwang-chol, returned to North Korea. Pak was one of the close aides to the purged uncle, Jang Song-thaek.

“North Korea appears to be intensively carrying out recalls of high-ranking diplomats,” the source said.

“A number of North Korean diplomats, trade officials and businessmen, who served as close subordinates of Jang Song-thaek, have been returned home,” the source said.

North Korea’s ambassador to China, Ji Jae-ryong, has been conducting business as usual, but North Korean diplomats in Beijing “have been recently trying to refrain from outdoor activities,” the source said.

Ji, 71, has shared the same political fate as Jang 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.

Earlier this month, the North’s ambassador to Malaysia, Jang Yong-chol, a nephew of the executed uncle, had also been summoned back to the country.

Mr. Hong had apparently held the post for just six months.

UPDATE 17 (2013-12-27): Yonhap reports that the DPRK’s ambassador to Sweden has been recalled. According to the article:

North Korean ambassador to Sweden, Pak Kwang-chol, was called back to Pyongyang on Friday, a diplomatic source said, marking the latest recall of North Korean diplomats following the recent execution of leader Kim Jong-un’s uncle.

Pak, one of close aides to the purged uncle, Jang Song-thaek, returned to North Korea via an Air Koryo flight after making a brief stopover in Beijing earlier in the day, the source said on the condition of anonymity.

Escorted by North Korean officials, Pak and his wife were spotted at Beijing airport before boarding the Air Koryo flight, the source said.

Park took up the post in September last year, according to a report by the North’s state media.

UPDATE 16 (2013-12-23): South Korea’s spy chief states that Jang’s demise stemmed from business dealings. According to AFP:

The shock purge and execution of the North Korean leader’s uncle stemmed from his attempts to take control of the country’s lucrative coal export business, South Korea’s spy chief told lawmakers Monday.

The execution — the biggest political upheaval since Kim took power two years ago — sparked speculation that Jang had lost out in a power struggle with hardline army generals.

But Nam Jae-Joon, the head of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, said Jang’s attempts to secure control of state-run natural resources businesses played a big part in his downfall.

Nam, briefing members of parliament’s intelligence committee on the situation in the North, also said the young ruler currently “appears to have no problem” in his grip on power — but may stage armed provocations against the South sometime between January and March to rally domestic unity.

“Jang intervened too much in lucrative state businesses… related to coal, which drew mounting complaints from other [related] state bodies,” lawmaker Jung Chung-Rae, a member of the committee, quoted Nam as saying at the closed hearing.

Jang for years handled the country’s mineral exports, which go mostly to China.

The impoverished but mineral-rich North has sought for years to bolster its crumbling economy by increasing exports of coal and other minerals, which account for the bulk of its exports to China.

But Jang and his associates angered other top party officials by rapidly expanding their control over the coveted mineral businesses, Jung quoted Nam as saying.

“Kim Jong-Un was briefed about it… and issued orders to correct the situation,” Jung told reporters.

But many officials loyal to Jang did not immediately accept his orders, which eventually led an angry Kim to launch a sweeping purge, the lawmaker quoted the spy chief as saying.

The regime is currently probing officials in the ruling party’s administrative department once supervised by Jang as well as other state-run trading arms, Nam was quoted as saying.

According to the New York Times, also covered the announcement, though this telling of the story focuses more on a dispute that erupted from fishing rights:

The execution of the uncle of Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, had its roots in a firefight between forces loyal to Mr. Kim and those supporting the man who was supposed to be his regent, according to accounts that are being pieced together by South Korean and American officials. The clash was over who would profit from North Korea’s most lucrative exports: coal, clams and crabs.

North Korean military forces were deployed to retake control of one of the sources of those exports, the rich crab and clam fishing grounds that Jang Song-thaek, the uncle of the country’s untested, 30-year-old leader, had seized from the military. In the battle for control of the fishing grounds, the emaciated, poorly trained North Korean forces “were beaten — very badly — by Uncle Jang’s loyalists,” according to one official.

The rout of his forces appears to have been the final straw for Mr. Kim, who saw his 67-year-old uncle as a threat to his authority over the military and, just as important, to his own family’s dwindling sources of revenue. Eventually, at Mr. Kim’s order, the North Korean military came back with a larger force and prevailed. Soon, Mr. Jang’s two top lieutenants were executed.

The two men died in front of a firing squad. But instead of rifles, the squad used antiaircraft machine guns, a form of execution that according to South Korean intelligence officials and news media was similar to the one used against some North Korean artists in August. Days later, Mr. Jang himself was publicly denounced, tried and executed, by more traditional means.

Given the opaqueness of North Korea’s inner circle, many details of the struggle between Mr. Kim and his uncle remain murky. But what is known suggests that while Mr. Kim has consolidated control and eliminated a potential rival, it has been at a huge cost: The open warfare between the two factions has revealed a huge fracture inside the country’s elite over who pockets the foreign currency — mostly Chinese renminbi — the country earns from the few nonnuclear exports its trading partners desire.

..

But when Mr. Kim succeeded his father two years ago, he took away some of the military’s fishing and trading rights and handed them to his cabinet, which he designated as the main agency to revive the economy. Mr. Jang was believed to have been a leading proponent of curtailing the military’s economic power.

r. Jang appears to have consolidated many of those trading rights under his own control — meaning that profits from the coal, crabs and clams went into his accounts, or those of state institutions under his control, including the administrative department of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, which he headed.

But this fall, the long-brewing tensions that arrangement created broke into the open. Radio Free Asia, in a report last week that cited anonymous North Korean sources, reported that Mr. Kim saw North Korean soldiers malnourished during his recent visits to islands near the disputed western sea border. They say he ordered Mr. Jang to hand over the operation of nearby fishing grounds back to the military.

According to accounts put together by South Korean and American officials, Mr. Jang and his associates resisted. When a company of about 150 North Korean soldiers showed up at the farm, Mr. Jang’s loyalists refused to hand over the operation, insisting that Mr. Jang himself would have to approve. The confrontation escalated into a gun battle, and Radio Free Asia reports that two soldiers were killed and that the army backed off. Officials say the number of casualties is unknown, but they have received similar accounts.

It is hard to know exactly how large a role the episode played in Mr. Jang’s downfall — there is more money in coal than in seafood — but Mr. Kim was reportedly enraged when he heard of the clash. Mr. Nam said that by mid-November his agents were already reporting that Mr. Jang had been detained. The Dec. 12 verdict noted that Mr. Jang “instructed his stooges to sell coal and other precious underground resources at random.”

Mr. Nam said the fact that such behind-the-scenes tensions had spun so far out of control that Mr. Kim had to order his own uncle’s execution raised questions about the government’s internal unity.

“The fissure within the regime could accelerate if it further loses popular support,” the lawmakers quoted Mr. Nam as saying.

New Focus International has published three articles on the Jang affair. These articles take a different approach than the articles above. These look at Pyongyang’s the de facto political culture and competition between JST and the party’s Organization and Guidance Department. You can read them here:

1. The transformation of N.Korean politics through the execution of Jang Song-thaek

2. Purge and execution of Jang Song-thaek: The transformation of N.Korean political procedure

3. Kim Jong-un is not in charge. Then who is?

4. We have just witnessed a coup in North Korea

5. This is it: North Korea’s hidden power system

Here is coverage at the Wall Street Journal’s Korea Real Time.

UPDATE 15 (2013-12-20): The Daily NK reports that Jang’s family members have been rounded up and punished.

UPDATE 14 (2013-12-6): Jang’s purge has had impact on operations at Rason Economic and Trade Zone and Hwanggumphyong SEZ.

UPDATE 13 (2013-12-17): NK News reports that  articles about Jang song-thaek have been deleted from the KCNA.kp web page (thought not the KCNA.co.jp site). According to the article:

In total, 10-15 articles on Jang were deleted, with approximately 500 other articles mentioning Jang’s name edited to remove Jang’s name specifically.

“The scale of what they’re attempting to do here is unprecedented. North Korea ‘s websites are somewhat of an unknown quantity, and nothing on this scale has been detected before,” said Frank Feinstein, a New Zealand based computing specialist that tracks North Korean media output for NK News’s KCNA Watch.

“They’re attempting to write not just Jang, but several other elites, right out of the history books,” Feinstein added.

UPDATE 12 (2013-12-16): James Person at the Wilson Center’s NKIDB writes about the DPRK’s last major purge in the 1960s.

UPDATE 11 (2013-12-15):  Michael Madden has written a thorough obituary for Jang Song-thaek.

UPDATE 10 (2013-12-15): KCNA lists Kim Kyong-hui on the funeral committee for Kim Kuk-thae, indicating she has survived the purge of her husband.

UPDATE 9 (2013-12-13): 38 North has published three prespectives on Jang’s execution: Haksoon Paik, James Church, Alexandre Mansourov

UPDATE 8 (2013-12-12): NK News has thoughts on Jang’s execution from David Straub, Victor Cha, Andrei Lankov, and Sunny Lee.

UPDATE 7 (2013-12-12): Rodong Sinmun has coverage (in Korean). Here are two images that were published of the tribunal that sentenced Mr. Jang:

jang-tribunal

 

jang-tribunal-2

Top: The three-member military tribunal of the Ministry of State Security. Bottom: Jang can be seen in handcuffs as he is escorted by two guards from the Ministry of State Security.

UPDATE 6 (2013-12-12): KCNA announces execution of Jang song-thaek:

Traitor Jang Song Thaek Executed

Pyongyang, December 13 (KCNA) — Upon hearing the report on the enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the service personnel and people throughout the country broke into angry shouts that a stern judgment of the revolution should be meted out to the anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional elements. Against the backdrop of these shouts rocking the country, a special military tribunal of the DPRK Ministry of State Security was held on December 12 against traitor for all ages Jang Song Thaek.

The accused Jang brought together undesirable forces and formed a faction as the boss of a modern day factional group for a long time and thus committed such hideous crime as attempting to overthrow the state by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods with a wild ambition to grab the supreme power of our party and state.

The tribunal examined Jang’s crimes.

All the crimes committed by the accused were proved in the course of hearing and were admitted by him.

A decision of the special military tribunal of the Ministry of State Security of the DPRK was read out at the trial.

Every sentence of the decision served as sledge-hammer blow brought down by our angry service personnel and people on the head of Jang, an anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional element and despicable political careerist and trickster.

The accused is a traitor to the nation for all ages who perpetrated anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts in a bid to overthrow the leadership of our party and state and the socialist system.

Jang was appointed to responsible posts of the party and state thanks to the deep political trust of President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il and received benevolence from them more than any others from long ago.

He held higher posts than before and received deeper trust from supreme leader Kim Jong Un, in particular.

The political trust and benevolence shown by the peerlessly great men of Mt. Paektu were something he hardly deserved.

It is an elementary obligation of a human being to repay trust with sense of obligation and benevolence with loyalty.

However, despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him.

From long ago, Jang had a dirty political ambition. He dared not raise his head when Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il were alive. But, reading their faces, Jang had an axe to grind and involved himself in double-dealing. He began revealing his true colors, thinking that it was just the time for him to realize his wild ambition in the period of historic turn when the generation of the revolution was replaced.

Jang committed such an unpardonable thrice-cursed treason as overtly and covertly standing in the way of settling the issue of succession to the leadership with an axe to grind when a very important issue was under discussion to hold respected Kim Jong Un in high esteem as the only successor to Kim Jong Il in reflection of the unanimous desire and will of the entire party and army and all people.

When his cunning move proved futile and the decision that Kim Jong Un was elected vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea at the Third Conference of the WPK in reflection of the unanimous will of all party members, service personnel and people was proclaimed, making all participants break into enthusiastic cheers that shook the conference hall, he behaved so arrogantly and insolently as unwillingly standing up from his seat and half-heartedly clapping, touching off towering resentment of our service personnel and people.

Jang confessed that he behaved so at that time as a knee-jerk reaction as he thought that if Kim Jong Un’s base and system for leading the army were consolidated, this would lay a stumbling block in the way of grabbing the power of the party and state.

When Kim Jong Il passed away so suddenly and untimely to our sorrow, he began working in real earnest to realize its long-cherished greed for power.

Abusing the honor of often accompanying Kim Jong Unduring his field guidance, Jang tried hard to create illusion about him by projecting himself internally and externally as a special being on a par with the headquarters of the revolution.

In a bid to rally a group of reactionaries to be used by him for toppling the leadership of the party and state, he let the undesirable and alien elements including those who had been dismissed and relieved of their posts after being severely punished for disobeying the instructions of Kim Jong Il and kowtowing to him work in a department of the Central Committee of the WPK and organs under it in a crafty manner.

Jang did serious harm to the youth movement in our country, being part of the group of renegades and traitors in the field of youth work bribed by enemies. Even after they were disclosed and purged by the resolute measure of the party, he patronized those cat’s paws and let them hold important posts of the party and state.

He had let Ri Ryong Ha, flatterer, work with him since the 1980s whenever he was transferred to other posts and systematically promoted Ri up to the post of first vice department director of the Party Central Committee though he had been purged for his factional act of denying the unitary leadership of the party. Jang thus made Ri his trusted stooge.

Jang let his confidants and flatterers who had been fired for causing an important case of denying the unitary leadership of the party work in his department and organs under it in a crafty manner in a few years. He systematically rallied ex-convicts, those problematic in their past careers and discontented elements around him and ruled over them as sacred and inviolable being.

He worked hard to put all affairs of the country under his control, massively increasing the staff of his department and organs under it, and stretch his tentacles to ministries and national institutions. He converted his department into a “little kingdom” which no one dares touch.

He was so imprudent as to prevent the Taedonggang Tile Factory from erecting a mosaic depicting Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Iland a monument to field guidance given by them. Moreover, Jang turned down the unanimous request of the service personnel of a unit of the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces to have the autograph letter sent by Kim Jong Un to the unit carved on a natural granite and erected with good care in front of the building of its command. He was so reckless as to instruct the unit to erect it in a shaded corner.

He committed such anti-party acts as systematically denying the party line and policies, its organizational will, in the past period. These acts were a revelation of deliberate and sinister attempt to create extreme illusion and idolization of him by making him appear as a special being who can overrule either issues decided by the party or its line.

He went so rude as to take in the middle even those things associated with intense loyalty and sincerity of our army and people towards the party and the leader and distribute them among his confidants in an effort to take credit upon himself for doing so. This behavior was to create illusion about him.

Due to his persistent moves to create illusion and idolization of him his flatterers and followers in his department and organs under it praised him as “No. 1 comrade.” They went the lengths of denying even the party’s instructions to please him at any cost.

Jang established such a heterogenous work system in the department and the relevant organs as considering what he said as more important than the party’s policies. Consequently, his trusted henchmen and followers made no scruple of perpetrating such counterrevolutionary act as disobeying the order of the Supreme Commander of the KPA.

The revolutionary army will never pardon all those who disobey the order of the Supreme Commander and there will be no place for them to be buried even after their death.

Dreaming a fantastic dream to become premier at an initial stage to grab the supreme power of the party and state, Jang made his department put major economic fields of the country under its control in a bid to disable the Cabinet. In this way he schemed to drive the economy of the country and people’s living into an uncontrollable catastrophe.

He put inspection and supervision organs belonging to the Cabinet under his control in defiance of the new state machinery established by Kim Jong Il at the First Session of the Tenth Supreme People’s Assembly. He put all issues related to all structural works handled by the Cabinet under his control and had the final say on them, making it impossible for the Cabinet to properly perform its function and role as an economic command. They included the issues of setting up and disorganizing committees, ministries and national institutions and provincial, city and county-level organs, organizing units for foreign trade and earning foreign money and structures overseas and fixing living allowances.

When he attempted to make a false report to the party without having agreement with the Cabinet and the relevant ministry on the issue related to the state construction control organization, officials concerned expressed just opinion that his behavior was contrary to the construction law worked out by Kim Il Sung andKim Jong Il. Hearing this, he made the reckless remark that “the rewriting of the construction law would solve the problem.”

Abusing his authority, he undermined the work system related to the construction of the capital city established by Kim Il Sungand Kim Jong Il, reducing the construction building-materials bases to such bad shape little short of debris in a few years. He weakened the ranks of technicians and skilled workers at the unit for the construction of the capital city in a crafty manner and transferred major construction units to his confidants so that they might make money. In this way he deliberately disturbed the construction in Pyongyang.

He instructed his stooges to sell coal and other precious underground resources at random. Consequently, his confidants were saddled with huge debts, deceived by brokers. Jang made no scruple of committing such act of treachery in May last as selling off the land of the Rason economic and trade zone to a foreign country for a period of five decades under the pretext of paying those debts.

It was none other than Jang who wirepulled behind scene Pak Nam Gi, traitor for all ages, to recklessly issue hundreds of billions of won in 2009, sparking off serious economic chaos and disturbing the people’s mind-set.

Jang encouraged money-making under various pretexts to secure funds necessary for gratifying his political greed and was engrossed in irregularities and corruption. He thus took the lead in spreading indolent, careless and undisciplined virus in our society.

After collecting precious metals since the construction of Kwangbok Street in the 1980s, he set up a secret organ under his control and took a fabulous amount of funds from a bank and purchased precious metals in disregard of the state law. He thus committed such anti-state criminal acts as creating a great confusion in financial management system of the state.

He let the decadent capitalist lifestyle find its way to our society by distributing all sorts of pornographic pictures among his confidants since 2009. He led a dissolute, depraved life, squandering money wherever he went.

He took at least 4.6 million Euro from his secret coffers and squandered it in 2009 alone and enjoyed himself in casino in a foreign country. These facts alone clearly show how corrupt and degenerate he was.

Jang was so reckless with his greed for power that he persistently worked to stretch his tentacles even to the People’s Army with a foolish calculation that he would succeed in staging a coup if he mobilized the army.

He fully revealed his despicable true colors as a traitor for all ages in the course of questioning by uttering as follows: “I attempted to trigger off discontent among service personnel and people when the present regime does not take any measure despite the fact that the economy of the country and people’s living are driven into catastrophe. Comrade supreme leader is the target of the coup.”

As regards the means and methods for staging the coup, Jang said: “I was going to stage the coup by using army officers who had close ties with me or by mobilizing armed forces under the control of my confidants. I don’t know well about recently appointed army officers but have some acquaintances with those appointed in the past period. I thought the army might join in the coup if the living of the people and service personnel further deteriorate in the future. And I calculated that my confidants in my department including Ri Ryong Ha and Jang Su Gil would surely follow me and had a plan to use the one in charge of the people’s security organ as my confidant. It was my calculation that I might use several others besides them.”

Asked about the timing of the coup and his plan to do after staging the coup, Jang answered: “I didn’t fix the definite time for the coup. But it was my intention to concentrate my department and all economic organs on the Cabinet and become premier when the economy goes totally bankrupt and the state is on the verge of collapse in a certain period. I thought that if I solve the problem of people’s living at a certain level by spending an enormous amount of funds I have accumulated under various names after becoming premier, the people and service personnel will shout “hurrah” for me and I will succeed in the coup in a smooth way.”

Jang dreamed such a foolish dream that once he seizes power by a base method, his despicable true colors as “reformist” known to the outside world would help his “new government” get “recognized” by foreign countries in a short span of time.

All facts go to clearly prove that Jang is a thrice-cursed traitor without an equal in the world as he had desperately worked for years to destabilize and bring down the DPRK and grab the supreme power of the party and state by employing all the most cunning and sinister means and methods, pursuant to the “strategic patience” policy and “waiting strategy” of the U.S. and the south Korean puppet group of traitors.

The hateful and despicable nature of the anti-party, anti-state and unpopular crimes committed by Jang was fully disclosed in the course of the trial conducted at the special military tribunal of the DPRK Ministry of State Security.

The era and history will eternally record and never forget the shuddering crimes committed by Jang Song Thaek, the enemy of the party, revolution and people and heinous traitor to the nation.

No matter how much water flows under the bridge and no matter how frequently a generation is replaced by new one, the lineage of Paektu will remain unchanged and irreplaceable.

Our party, state, army and people do not know anyone exceptKim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un.

Our service personnel and people will never pardon all those who dare disobey the unitary leadership of Kim Jong Un, challenge his absolute authority and oppose the lineage of Paektu to an individual but bring them to the stern court of history without fail and mercilessly punish them on behalf of the party and revolution, the country and its people, no matter where they are in hiding.

The special military tribunal of the Ministry of State Security of the DPRK confirmed that the state subversion attempted by the accused Jang with an aim to overthrow the people’s power of the DPRK by ideologically aligning himself with enemies is a crime punishable by Article 60 of the DPRK Criminal Code, vehemently condemned him as a wicked political careerist, trickster and traitor for all ages in the name of the revolution and the people and ruled that he would be sentenced to death according to it.

The decision was immediately executed.

You can never clap too loud or too long…

See more NK News here and here.

UPDATE 5 (2013-12-12): Here is Ruediger Frank in 38 North.

UPDATE 4 (2013-12-11): Rodong Sinmun followed up with this article the next day:

An order of the respected Supreme Commander is what our army should carry out at the risk of its life.

It has been invariable faith and will of our revolutionary army at all times — in the days when it had to smash armed provocations of the U.S. and its satellites and in the days when it has been engaged  in both socialist construction and national defense.

Our revolutionary arms has always been merciless at all its enemies, particularly those who attempted to do harm to the headquarters of our revolution; those who refused to obey the order of the Supreme Commander and those who dreamed different dreams while in the same bed.

Jang Song Thaek and a handful of his followers dared to challenge our Party policies and disobeyed the orders of our Supreme Commander. Their crimes have been exposed now. This angered men and officers of our People’s Army.

Roaring voices now come from all corners of the country, “Our rifle never wavers. Hand those betrayers to us. We will finish them off, leaving no traces of their dirty bodies.”

The anti-Party, counter-revolutionary, factional crimes of Jang Song Thaek and his villains make us more keenly alive to the mission of the revolutionary army.

The first target we are going to crush is those who want to haggle about our Party’s line and directions, make a mess of the Party leadership exploits, keep away from the Party and class principles, and those who try to turn the pure minds of our people to rotten fish.

Our revolutionary army knows no one but its respected Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un.

UPDATE 3 (2013-12-10): Rodong Sinmun offers the following summary of the meeting:

Let Us Unite Firm around Kim Jong Un To

Accomplish Revolutionary Cause of Juche

Now our army and people have united firmer than ever before around the Workers’ Party of Korea.

An enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the WPK was held under the guidance of the respected Marshal Kim Jong Un. It was a historic landmark meeting in strengthening our party and accomplishing the revolutionary cause of Juche in our country.

The meeting laid bare the anti-party, counter-revolutionary, factional acts of Jang Song Thaek and his group who opposed the monolithic system of the party leadership.

Our party removed Jang from the Party and purged the party ranks of his group, thus giving a telling blow to the factionalists.

Our army and people welcomed the resolution of the meeting and reaffirmed their conviction to go along the road of final victory under the leadership of the party, holding high the banner of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism.

The enlarged meeting is of weighty significance in further consolidating the organizational and ideological unity of the party centered on Kim Jong Un.

It will also go a long way towards cementing the single-minded unity of our party and revolutionary ranks.

The meeting also marked an important turn in our efforts to build a thriving nation.

All the Party members, men of the People’s Army and people should learn to know the significance and importance of the meeting and unite them closer around the great party and continue to march vigorously for final victory of revolution.

They must always remain true to Kim Jong Un’s idea and lines and to his leadership. And in this, officials must take the lead.

Complacence and concession are taboo in ideological work because they may leave a margin for any unsound idea to make an inroad and decay sound minds.

The Party organizations of all levels must work to prepare every member of the party and of the working people as one ready to share weal and woe with the respected Marshal.

Let all of us more firmly unite around Kim Jong Un and continue our onward march with full vigor to realize the idea and cause of the great generalissimos.

UPDATE 2 (2013-12-9): Martyn Williams is the first in the Western Hemisphere to get the TV footage:

Michael Madden has some of the names and relationships from the video outlined here.

UPDATE 1 (2013-12-9): Andrei Lankov offers analysis at NK News. Alexandre Mansourov offers additional information at 38 North.

ORIGINAL POST (2013-12-9): According to KCNA (2013-12-9):

Jang-ST-Arrested

Pictured above (Yonhap, KCTV): Jang being removed from Politburo meeting. Jean Lee notes that Jang was sitting in the audience. He was not up on the stage with other members of the leadership.

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.

The same article notes that some of Jang’s relatives in Malaysia were recalled.

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.

And in Cuba (Japan Times)…

North Korea’s ambassador to Cuba, Jon Yong Jin — the husband of Jang’s elder sister — has also been recalled, he said, according to a joint briefing by ruling and opposition party lawmakers.

Here is the report by Voice of [North] Korea:

See Madden’s post here. NK News has info here.

Here is coverage in major media outlets: New York Times, Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal (and here), Associated Press.

Although it is still rumor at this point, some have speculated that Jang has been executed. The Ministry of Unification asserts he is “safe”. The JoongAng Daily reports he is in his Changgwang residence.

It is also rumored that one of Jang’s associates is under the protection of the South Korean government at a secret location in China  (see here and here). Two other associates, Ri Ryong-ha and Jang Su-gil, have allegedly been executed. Seoul denies they have anybody under their protection.

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.

Reuters offers great background info on Mr. Jang:

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.”

See also this article by Aiden Foster-Carter in the Wall Street Journal’s Korea Real Time.

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Text of North Korea cabinet premier’s address at May Day meeting

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

According to the BBC Monitoring Service:

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]

Comrades!

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

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2013 plenary meeting of WPK Central Committee and 7th session of Supreme People’s Assembly

Monday, April 1st, 2013

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.

Here is a video of Kim Jong-un’s speech:

Here is a transcript of the speech in English.

The strategy of pursuing both economic development and nuclear power was highlighted in both the DPRK and international media: Pyongyang Times, Joong Ang Ilbo, New York Times, Yonhap, Choson Ilbo.

Here is analysis from IFES:

Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea Stresses Development of Agricultural, Light, and Nuclear Industries
Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2013-4-4

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.

Michael Madden does a great job summarizing the personnel changes made at the party and SPA in this 38 North piece.

The elevation of Pak Pong-ju received much attention in the west: Daily NK, Washington Post, Yonhap, Reuters,

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.

And…

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.

And…

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.

And…

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.

And…

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.

And…

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.

And…

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.

Additional information:
1. Here and here is KCTV footage of the SPA meeting.

2. Here is a link to all the info for the 6th session of the SPA. It contains links to sessions 1-5 as well.

3. On 5.31 news of economic adjustment measures announced during the meetings was published.

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Korean Workers’ Party (KWP) 4th Delegates’ Conference

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Pictured Above: Kim Jong-un’s official party photo.

UPDATE 20 (2012-4-21): 38 North has posted three articles on the Party Conference and SPA meeting in Pyongyang.  Read the articles byJames ChurchAidan Foster-Carter, and Bruce Klinger.

UPDATE 19 (2012-4-19): Stephan Haggard, Luke Herman, and Jaesung Ryu on the Party conference.

UPDATE 18 (2012-4-11): In addition to honoring Kim Jong-il and promoting Kim Jong-un, KCNA also reported other party personnel changes:

Pyongyang, April 11 (KCNA) — Members of the party central guidance body were elected to fill vacancies, elected and appointed at the 4th Conference of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

Choe Ryong Hae was elected member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee, Kim Jong Gak, Jang Song Thaek, Pak To Chun, Hyon Chol Hae, Kim Won Hong and Ri Myong Su members of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee, Kwak Pom Gi, O Kuk Ryol, Ro Tu Chol, Ri Pyong Sam and Jo Yon Jun alternate members of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee to fill vacancies.

Kim Kyong Hui and Kwak Pom Gi were elected secretaries of the Party Central Committee.

Choe Ryong Hae was elected vice-chairman of the Party Central Military Commission and Hyon Chol Hae, Ri Myong Su and Kim Rak Gyom were elected members of the Party Central Military Commission to fill vacancies.

Members and alternate members of the Party Central Committee were elected to fill vacancies.

Kim Yong Chun, Kwak Pom Gi and Pak Pong Ju were appointed as department directors of the Party Central Committee.

Members of the Party Central Auditing Commission were elected to fill vacancies.

Previous posts on the party conference below…

(more…)

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Enlarged plenary meeting of Cabinet held

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Pictured above (Google Earth) is Changsong Town in North Pyongan Province. This town is the home of the Changsong Joint Conference which was held in August 1962.  This meeting was referenced in the DPRK’s most recent Cabinet plenary meeting on the DPRK economy.

According to KCNA (2012-1-22):

An enlarged Cabinet plenary meeting was held.

Present there were Premier Choe Yong Rim and cabinet members.

Attending the meeting as observers were senior officials of the organizations under direct control of the Cabinet, directors of management bureaus, chairpersons of provincial, city and county people’s committees, chairpersons of provincial rural economy committees, chairpersons of provincial planning committees, directors of provincial foodstuff and daily necessities management bureaus and managers of major factories and enterprises.

Prior to the meeting, the participants paid silent tribute to the memory of leader Kim Jong Il.

The meeting reviewed the fulfillment of last year’s national economic plan and discussed how to implement the decision of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, joint calls of the WPK Central Committee and the Central Military Commission and the militant task put forward in the joint New Year editorial.

Vice-Premier Ro Tu Chol made a report to be followed by speeches.

The enlarged meeting set it as a priority task for this year to direct efforts into developing light industry and agriculture to improve the people’s livelihood and successfully carrying out the WPK’s prosperity-oriented strategy in the pilot domains and basic industries of the national economy upholding the flames of South Hamgyong Province. It also indicated the tasks and ways for it.

Also discussed was an issue of raising higher the flames of great innovation of South Hamgyong Province in the light industrial and agricultural fields.

The meeting mentioned the need to produce quality consumer goods favored by the people in the field of light industry and effect a decisive turn in development of local industry this year marking the 50th anniversary of the historic Changsong joint conference.

It also stressed the need for ministries and national institutions to help Changsong County in its industrial development.

Also discussed at the meeting were such issues as fulfilling the assignments for grain production for 2012 both in lowland and mountainous areas, making the best use of modern stockbreeding and poultry bases and large fruit and fish farms as well as the tasks for ministries and national institutions to preferentially supply materials, equipment and electricity to farming processes.

The meeting drew attention to the tasks for the industrial fields of electric power, coal, metal, railways and machine and construction and building materials, etc.

The meeting tabled the tasks for all ministries, national institutions and provincial people’s committees to lay their own scientific and technological foundations for stepping up the work for turning the economy into one based on technology in a forward-looking manner as required by the industrial revolution in the new century.

It also discussed the tasks for the fields of education, literature and art, public health, sports, capital construction, land management and urban management.

The meeting stressed the need for all economic officials to preserve the socialist principle and ensure profitability in economic management, operate and manage the economic work on the basis of detailed calculation and science as well as the need for ministries, national institutions and industrial establishments to set up strict order regarding planning, financial dealings and administration.

Relevant decisions were made at the meeting.

As premier of the Cabinet Choe Yong-rim has made quite a few prominent appearances in the DPRK media in the last two years which highlight his official efforts to improve the North Korean economy. His most recent public appearance (January 12) is reported to have been at the Jenam Coal Mine.

Kim Jong-un, however, is not a member of the Cabinet, so he did not attend the meeting. To date his legitimacy is being established through his relationship to Kim Jong-il/Kim Il-sung and as a leader of the KPA—rather than as a leader in the government or even the party (at least so far).

As a result, Kim Jong-un’s guidance visits have consisted almost exclusively of visits to KPA units.  In this month alone, he has visited the 105 Tank Brigade, KPA Unit 169, KPA Unit 3870, KPA Unit 354, KPA Unit 671, and the KPA soldiers constructing the Pyongyang Folk Village on the outskirts of Pyongyang. Uriminzokkiri has also credited him with spearheading the DPRK’s nuclear tests.

UPDATE: Here is Yonhap coverage of the meeting.

“Changsong Joint Conference”
The KCNA article prompted me to look into the “Changsong Joint Conference”, a term that did not ring a bell. The most recent reference I can find to it is this blurb from a March 2011 article in Korea Magazine:

The Changsong Joint Conference of Local Party and Economic Officials was held in August 1962.

The conference marked the beginning of developing the local industry throughout the country.

In recent years the county has made strenuous efforts to carry out the plan of the Workers’ Party of Korea for the building of a thriving nation and achieved many successes.

Hundreds of hectares of forests of raw materials and timber forests including pine-nut, wild-walnut and larch forests have been newly created.

The Changsong Foodstuff Factory gathers in scores of kinds of wild fruits including acorns, wild grapes, fruits of Actinidia arguta and Crataegus pinnatifida every year in mountains.

Recently its officials and workers have modernized all production processes including wild fruit drinks and wines as required in the IT age to produce foodstuffs in time.

Wines made from the fermented juice of wild grapes, fruits of Actinidia arguta and other wild fruits, Crataegus pinnatifida, Rubus crataegifolius, carbonated Actinidia arguta and other fruit juices, dried bracken and sliced bracken and other wild vegetables preserved in soy sauce are in great demand for their peculiar flavour.

The Changsong Textile Mill which started operation with six housewives has been turned into a modern fabric producer. As a treasure mill, it makes a great contribution to the improvement of the people’s standard of living. It produces quality fabrics, woolen knitted goods and quilts and blankets with local raw materials.

The Changsong Paper Mill produces paper from ground pulp. It has streamlined the equipment to improve the qualities of goods.

Looking round the local-industry factories in Changsong County in November last year, Kim Jong Il kindled the flame of developing the local industry throughout the country after the model of Changsong.

Changsong County stands at the head of development of local industry. Now its people work harder to change further the looks of their home village.

Another blogger seems to have located a single page of a book on the Changsong Joint Conference. Fortunately, he typed out the introduction:

The great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung had made a farsighted plan for bridging the gap between town and country and between regions and raising equally the living standards of all the working people. For this Changsong County had been taken as a model.

The great leader who had long pushed preparations for rapid improvement in the livelihood of the mountain peasants, studied deeply the state of affairs in this part of the country, and through his several on-the-spot guidances, paved the shortest cut to establish a socialist paradise.

In August 1962, in order to spread the example of Changsong across the land he convened the historic Changsong Joint Conference of Local Party and Economic Functionaries. There he put forward a new policy and overall ways and means to enhance the role of the county and develop local industry and agriculture, so as to improve radically the people’s living conditions.

In 1974, our people erected in Changsong the historic monument to the on-the-spot guidance of the respected and beloved leader Comrade Kim Il Sung, out of their wish to retell throughout generations the profound care of the fatherly leader who had shown the bright future of mountain villages and transformed that area into a people’s paradise fine to live in.

Kim Jong-il last visited Changsong in November 2010 where he visited the Changsong Foodstuff Factory, Changsong Textile Mill, and Changsong House of Culture. The first two locations are the shining examples of the success of the Changsong Joint Conference.  The Changsong House of Culture is where the meeting was officially held in 1962.

But if the goal of the conference is to reduce the disparity in the DPRK’s living standards, Changsong is probably not the best place to start. Changsong is home to one of the North Korean leadership’s most well-known luxury retreats.  This is because it was was extensively photographed by Kenji Fujimoto while he was working as Kim Jong-il’s personal chef.   See a satellite image and Mr. Fujimoto’s pictures of the compound here. You can see the Taegwan leadership train station Kim used to visit the compound here.

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Power Restructuring in North Korea

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Ruediger Frank writes in 38 North:

“Finally,” one is tempted to say. The years of speculation and half-baked news from dubious sources are over. The leadership issue in North Korea has been officially resolved. Or has it?

The third delegate’s meeting[1] of the Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK) on September 28, 2010 answered a few questions. Still, it left some unanswered and posed quite a few new ones as well. In the end, Kim Jong Il emerged the undisputed leader. But has his legitimacy become more independent of his father than it used to be? Kim Jong Un has been introduced to the people. Does this mean he is going to succeed Kim Jong Il? Or will he succeed Kim Il Sung? Kim Jong Il’s sister Kim Kyong Hui has been promoted to the rank of general and is part of the party leadership. Is she supposed to support her nephew, or is this part of a strategy to more broadly enhance the family’s power? Her husband Jang Song Thaek is also on board. Will he share the caretaking job with his wife? Are there any other members of the extended Kim family on the team?

The Hard Facts

(1) On Monday, September 27, 2010, Kim Jong Un was mentioned for the first time in official North Korean media when he was promoted to the rank of general. Now, at last, we know for sure how to write his name (we use the official North Korean version for English; it would be Kim Jong-ùn according to McCune/Reischauer).

(2) On the same day, Kim Jong Il’s sister was promoted to the same military rank as her nephew.

(3) On September 28, 2010, one day later, the first delegate’s meeting of the WPK in 44 years and the biggest gathering since the last (Sixth) Party congress in 1980 opened after a mysterious delay. It had originally been announced for “early September.”

(4) Contrary to western media speculation, Kim Jong Il did not step down nor did he hand over any of his powers to his son. Rather, he was confirmed as the current leader of the party, the military, and the country.

(5) From 1945 until 1980, the WPK held six Party Congresses and two conferences or delegate’s meetings. This means that on average, the WPK had one major Party event every 4.4 years. However, over the next 30 years, it had none. The 21st and so far last plenum of the WPK was held in December 1993. Now, the defunct leadership structure of the WPK has been restored and the delegates elected 124 members of the Central Committee (CC) and 105 alternates. From among the members, 17 were named to the Politburo (PB) of the CC, and 15 as alternates.

(6) The Politburo is headed by a Presidium or Standing Committee of five people, with Kim Jong Il at the top as the general secretary of the WPK.[2] It also consists of Kim Yong Nam (82 years old),[3] Choe Yong Rim (80 years old),[4] Jo Myong Rok (82 years old)[5] and Ri Yong Ho (68 years old).[6] The latter was promoted the day before the delegate’s meeting to the post of vice marshal. He ranks above Kim Jong Un and his aunt and is rumored to be a member of the Kim family, which if true, implies a particularly strong base for loyalty. Given the advanced age of most of its members, if the Presidium is not newly elected in a few years, who will remain? This makes Mr. Ri particularly interesting.

(7) All three known close relatives of Kim Jong Il received posts in the WPK. Kim Jong Un became vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (see below). His aunt Kim Kyong Hui became a member of the Politburo and her husband Jang Song Thaek was made an alternate. The names of regular and alternate members were not provided in alphabetical order, indicating a certain hierarchy. Kim Kyong Hui’s name was listed last out of 17 and Jang was 5th out of 15. A day later, he was 14th (out of 15) on a list of short bios of regular and alternate Politburo members. Kim Kyong Hui was the only member in addition to Kim Jong Il for whom no details were provided.

(8) Except for the Central Committee, there is not a single leadership organ where all three close relatives of Kim Jong Il hold a post. Kim Jong Un is excluded from the Politburo altogether; Kim Kyong Hui is not on the Central Military Commission; and Jang Song Thaek is only an alternate Politburo member. We could speculate that Kim Jong Il wants to prevent having too high a concentration of power in the hands of one of his relatives. He has made sure that the most crucial instruments of power are staffed with the most loyal of his followers who will be ready to walk the extra mile and fulfill his strategic decisions with all the energy of a family member and co-owner.

(9) As was expected, Kim Jong Un has not (yet) become a member or an alternate member of the Politburo, the second-highest leading organ of the party, but did receive a high-ranking post in the WPK’s Central Military Commission. As far as we know, this is essentially the organization through which the Party controls the military, and hence the most powerful of the WPK’s organs. It is no coincidence that this commission is chaired by Kim Jong Il himself. His son comes next in the hierarchy—he is the first of the commission’s two vice-chairmen. Jang Song Thaek is a member, too, but the one with the lowest rank, so it seems. His name was listed last out of 19. Kim Kyong Hui is not a member of the Central Military Commission.

(10) On September 29, 2010, an unusually long and detailed KCNA article was published with profiles of all Politburo members. In addition, a large group picture was published that showed the delegates and the complete Central Committee, including Kim Jong Un. The photo rather openly revealed the true hierarchy within the Party leadership; only 19 people were sitting in the front row, the others were standing. Kim Jong Un sat just one space away from his father, while Kim Kyong Hui sat five spaces away from the center. In a KCNA report on the taking of this picture, Kim Jong Un’s name came fourth after the Politburo Presidium members Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim and Ri Yong Ho. Kim Kyong Hui was number 18, and Jang Song Thaek was number 23 on that exclusive list of 33 leaders.

(11) A total of 14 department directors of the Central Committee were appointed, among them Jang Song Thaek and Kim Kyong Hui. However, contrary to predictions by many analysts, Kim Jong Un does not seem to have been appointed director of the Organization and Guidance Department (OGD), a post his father held before he was announced as Kim Il Sung’s successor.[7] This could be due to a number of reasons. Either, Kim Jong Un already effectively held that post—we may not know since the last time such positions were given officially was 1980—or the division of labor (and power) within the party has changed, for example in the context of the Military First Policy. In that case, the OGD post may simply not be as important as it used to be. This would imply that the Central Military Commission now makes all the important appointments, and the OGD is merely an administrative unit like any human resources department.

(12) The North Korean media published a message from China’s leader Hu Jintao only a day after the delegate’s meeting. He stressed the deep and traditional friendship, close geographical relationship, and wide-ranging common interests of the two countries. Hu pledged to defend and promote the bilateral relationship, always holding fast to it in a strategic view under the long-term discernment no matter how the international situation may change (KCNA, 29.09.2010). This was a message to the North Korean people and the international community: China is going to support the new North Korean leadership (model).

What Have We Learned?

The Party meeting provided final proof of what has often been doubted since Kim Jong Il took over as leader of North Korea after 1994. All the other things one might say about him notwithstanding, Kim Il Sung undisputedly was an able politician. He did not choose his eldest son Kim Jong Il as his successor by chance. Despite his health problems, Kim Jong Il is (still) able to play the power game. He paved the way for a new leadership without turning himself into a lame duck. He did so by not leaving any important posts to somebody else—although, at the same time, he did not monopolize those positions. He distributed power among a core group of family members and his father’s loyalists, while also ensuring that none of them can be certain to be significantly higher-ranking than any of their colleagues. As in juche, where in the end everything depends on the judgment of the leader, power in North Korea remains Kim’s sole domain. At the same time, he has done what any good CEO does: delegate authority to avoid energy-consuming micro-management of each and every aspect of his job.

The most important decision regarding human resources has been the introduction of Kim Jong Un as a member of the top leadership of the Party and of the military. He will now have to quickly develop a record (at least on paper) of spectacular achievements, so that he can be quickly presented to the people as the most logical and capable candidate for the next leadership post. Since Kim Jong Un was appointed with a clear reference to the military, Kim Jong Il appears to be following the same strategy his father did after 1980. At that time, North Korea analysts noticed that the late O Jin U, the top military official, was always standing close to Kim Jong Il. It would now be logical to expect that like his father before him, Kim Jong Un will be responsible for the promotion of top military officers, thereby ensuring their loyalty.

In terms of strategic decisions, its seems that the succession from Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un will be different from the last changing of the guard in 1994. As early as 2008, it seemed likely that the role of the Party would be strengthened substantially. The restoration of the WPK’s formal power organs and the many biographical details that were provided on the top leadership circle, including the group photo, indicate that the new leader will not be as autocratic as his predecessors. The new leadership will have more faces; we could observe something similar a few months ago in the case of the National Defense Commission. This is the reflection of a trend, not a spontaneous event.

What seems most notable is the renewed emphasis on Kim Il Sung as the sole source of legitimacy in North Korea. Kim Jong Il is not going to replace him, which would have been a precondition for the perpetuation of the current system of leadership. Therefore, in a sense, Kim Jong Un and all those who come after him will be, like Kim Jong Il, successors of Kim Il Sung.

Concerning the process of power transfer, as expected, a multi-stage approach is unfolding. At least one more stage will be needed. Chances are good that this will take place at the Seventh Party Congress, whose date is as of yet unannounced. 2012 would be a good time considering the health of Kim Jong Il and that year’s auspicious meaning—the 100th anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birthday. As stated above, Kim Il Sung was a capable politician. He was clearly aware of the fact that sooner or later, his son would face the succession issue. It would be a great surprise if he hadn’t talked about this with him and jointly developed a rough plan as to how create a sustainable model of power succession. The two problems Kim Il Sung could not consider, simply for technical reasons, were who exactly would show the necessary capabilities to become the next successor, and how much time Kim Jong Il would have to oversee and guide that process.

The year 2008 indeed marked a watershed when, because of his illness, Kim Jong Il realized the need for a quick solution. The last thing an autocrat wants is to create the impression of being forced to act, and of time running out. So he used the already fixed year 2012 not only as the year of the celebration of his father’s 100th birthday, but also as the year when great changes will happen and the gate to becoming a Strong and Prosperous Great Country will be opened. From this perspective, I would argue that Kim Jong Il is indeed fighting a “speed battle,” but in the form of compressing a process that was planned long ago and supposed to last longer, rather than creating such a process from scratch and hastily.

The China Factor

The message of support from Hu Jintao along with the two visits of Kim Jong Il to China before the delegate’s meeting immediately lead to the question: What type of North Korea will China support? Clearly, the last thing China wants is for North Korea to collapse. Such a situation would create a serious dilemma for Beijing. It could either do nothing and watch the U.S. sphere of influence expand right to its border, or it could actively interfere. This would instantly shatter all Chinese efforts to display itself to the carefully watching countries in the region as a peaceful giant that is a real alternative to protection by the United States. In the end, this is what North Korea is all about—competition between Beijing and Washington. Pyongyang knows this.

A third path may be open to China. The North has realized that the economic reforms of 2002, which focused on agriculture and hence closely resembled the Chinese example of 1979, were in principle a good idea, but that conditions were so unlike those in China that the results inevitably differed. In principle, the understanding that economic reform is necessary remains but reservations against the political side effects of such reforms have grown substantially due to the chaos that emerged in the aftermath of the 2002 measures. Given North Korea’s structure as an industrialized economy, reforms need to take place in industry.

There is a well-established blueprint for this; we call it the East Asian model. In short, it consists of a strong state that controls a few big players in the economy—zaibatsu or keiretsu in Japan, chaebol in Korea, and the state owned companies in China. A core requirement for this model to succeed is a huge source of finance, coupled with a strong political partner that, for a while, is willing to turn a blind eye on protectionism. The United States played that role partly for Japan, and very strongly for South Korea. China is now willing to do this service for North Korea under certain political conditions.

Many signs point in the direction of North Korea “returning” to the path of orthodox socialism, or at least to its East Asian version. “Rule by the Party”—a collective with a first among equals at the top—is not only a key component of any socialist textbook case, it is also characteristic of the Chinese model since 1978. After two leaders of the Mao Zedong type, North Korea may now be getting ready for one similar to the position that the current Chinese President, Hu Jintao, occupies in China—that is, a strong leader who rules as the head of a collective. With some luck, Kim Jong Un might even turn out to be a Deng Xiaoping—a man who has the power and vision to use this post to initiate and execute crucial reforms.

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Worker’s Party conference wrap-up

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

1. Below are some photos of the conference posted on Daylife.com including the first official pictures of Kim Jong-un:

2. As mentioned in the previous post, Kim Jong-il’s sister and son were named to the KPA and various KWP offices.

3. Hu Jintao endorses the conference outcome.  According to KCNA:

I, on behalf of the CPC Central Committee and on my own behalf, extend warm congratulations to you on the successful WPK Conference, your reelection as general secretary of the WPK and the election of its supreme leadership body.

The WPK headed by General Secretary Kim Jong Il has achieved great successes in the cause of building Korean-style socialism through self-reliance and strenuous efforts by leading all the Korean people for many years.

In recent years the Korean people have made a series of admirable achievements in economic development, improvement of the people’s standard of living and other fields to build a great prosperous and powerful nation.

China and the DPRK maintain deep and traditional friendship and close geographical relationship with wide-ranging common interests.

It is the steadfast policy of the Chinese party and government to consolidate and develop the Sino-DPRK friendly and cooperative relations.

We defend and promote the bilateral relationship, always holding fast to it in a strategic view under the long-term discernment no matter how the international situation may change.

We will strive together with the DPRK side to steadily put the bilateral relations on a new stage and provide greater happiness to the peoples of the two countries and make greater contribution to achieving lasting peace and common prosperity of the region.

I heartily wish you and the WPK continued and greater fresh successes in the work to build a thriving nation by leading the Korean people.

Hu Jintao repeated support a couple of days later.  According to the  AFP:

Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday pledged to strengthen ties with the new leadership in North Korea, during a visit to Beijing by a senior delegation from Pyongyang, state media reported.

Hu’s comments come after ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il this week offered senior posts in the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) to his son Jong-Un and promoted him to the rank of general — signs that he is the heir apparent.

China is North Korea’s sole major ally and provides an economic lifeline to impoverished Pyongyang.

“We believe that the WPK, the DPRK government and people will see new achievements in their national construction under the new WPK leadership,” Hu said, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.

Hu, who has welcomed Kim to China twice this year, said the Communist party would work with the WPK’s new leaders to “promote and expand cooperation” and “strengthen communication” on regional and international issues, Xinhua said.

The leader of the North Korean delegation, party politburo member Choe Thae Bok, said Kim’s decision to dispatch a high-level group of envoys so soon after the WPK conference “shows the importance the DPRK attaches to the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries,” the report added.

4. KCNA recounts the conference outcomes:

WPK Conference Held
Pyongyang, September 28 (KCNA) — The Conference of the Workers’ Party of Korea was held with success in Pyongyang on Sept. 28.

Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the WPK and chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, was present at the Conference.

Present there were delegates elected at the meeting of WPK delegates of the Korean People’s Army and provincial and political bureaus’ meetings of delegates of the WPK.

Officials of the party, armed forces and power organs, working people’s organizations, ministries and national institutions, servicepersons and officials in the fields of science, education, public health, culture and arts and media attended the Conference as observers.

All the participants observed a moment’s silence in memory of President Kim Il Sung who successfully accomplished the cause of founding the Juche-type revolutionary party for the first time in history and developed the WPK into a powerful ever-victorious staff of the revolution.

Kim Yong Nam made an opening address.

Choe Yong Rim worked as chairman at the Conference upon authorization by the consultative meeting of provincial delegates.

The Conference elected its Presidium.

The Presidium included Kim Jong Il and Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Kim Yong Chun, Jang Song Thaek, Ri Yong Ho, Kim Jong Gak, Jon Pyong Ho, Choe Thae Bok, Yang Hyong Sop, Hong Sok Hyong, Kim Kuk Thae, Kim Ki Nam, Paek Se Bong, U Tong Chuk and Ju Kyu Chang.

The Conference decided on the following agenda items.

1. On the reelection of the great leader Comrade Kim Jong Il as general secretary of the WPK
2. On the revision of the WPK rules
3. Election of the central leadership body of the WPK

The Conference discussed the first agenda item.

Kim Yong Nam delivered a speech proposing Kim Jong Il’s reelection as general secretary of the WPK.

He said in his speech that Kim Jong Il has devoted his all to the prosperity of the country and the nation and the victory of the revolutionary cause of Juche only for decades since he embarked upon the road of the revolution.

The half a century-long history of Kim Jong Il’s revolutionary activities was a history of heroic struggles in which he blazed the path with his ceaseless thinking and pursuit and extraordinary energy and a history of victories in which he made gigantic creation and innovations with his iron will and pluck, the speaker said, and continued:

The recent meeting of WPK delegates of the KPA and meetings of provincial and political bureaus elected Kim Jong Il as a delegate of the WPK Conference reflecting the unanimous will of the army and people of the DPRK to invariably hold Kim Jong Il in high esteem as general secretary of the WPK.

Having Kim Jong Il at the top post of the WPK, organizer and guide of all victories of the Korean people, is the greatest happiness and highest honor of all the party members, servicepersons and people.

Kim Yong Nam courteously proposed to the Conference the reelection of Kim Jong Il as general secretary of the WPK reflecting the unanimous will and wishes of all the party members, servicepersons and people of the country.

Then followed speeches by Chief of the KPA General Staff Ri Yong Ho who is a delegate of the KPA party organization, First Secretary of the C.C., the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League Ri Yong Chol who is a delegate of the Pyongyang City party organization, Chairman of the C.C., the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea Hyon Sang Ju who is a delegate of the Jagang Provincial party organization, Chairman of the C.C., the Union of Agricultural Workers of Korea Ri Myong Gil who is a delegate of the North Phyongan Provincial party organization and President of Kim Il Sung University and concurrently Minister of Higher Education Song Ja Rip who is a delegate of the Pyongyang City party organization.

The speakers fully supported and approved in unison the proposal of the Conference on reelecting Kim Jong Il as general secretary of the WPK.

A resolution of the WPK Conference on reelecting Kim Jong Il as general secretary of the WPK was read out there.

The Conference discussed the second agenda item.

A resolution on the revision of the WPK rules was adopted.

The Conference discussed the third agenda item.

The Conference declared that Kim Il Sung, founder of the WPK and outstanding leader who led the party and the revolution to victories only, would be always held in esteem at the supreme leadership organ of the WPK reflecting the unanimous will and wishes of all the party members, servicepersons and people.

It also declared that Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the WPK, was reelected as member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the C.C., the WPK, member of the Political Bureau of the C.C., the WPK, member of the C.C., the WPK and chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK according to the WPK rules and the detailed regulations for the election of the supreme leadership body of the WPK.

The Conference elected the central leadership body of the WPK.

Then followed the election of members and alternate members of the C.C., the WPK.

Candidates for the members and alternate members of the C.C., the WPK were elected as members and alternate members of the C.C., the WPK.

The members of the Central Auditing Commission of the WPK were elected.

Candidates for the members of the Central Auditing Commission of the WPK were elected as members of the commission.

The Conference notified its participants of the decisions of the September 2010 Plenary Meeting of the C.C., the WPK.

The results of the election of the Presidium of the Political Bureau and the Political Bureau of the C.C., the WPK and the secretaries of the C.C., the WPK and organization of the Secretariat were made public there.

The results of organization of the Central Military Commission of the WPK were released.

The appointment of the department directors of the C.C., the WPK and the editor-in-chief of Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the C.C., the WPK, and the results of election of the Control Commission of the C.C., the WPK were made public.

The Conference notified its participants of the decisions made at the First Plenary Meeting of the Central Auditing Commission of the WPK.

Kim Yong Nam made a closing speech.

The Conference marked a significant occasion that demonstrated the revolutionary faith and will of all the party members, servicepersons and people to glorify the WPK as the glorious party of Kim Il Sung for all ages and accomplish the Songun revolutionary cause of Juche started on Mt. Paektu by invariably having Kim Jong Il, peerless political elder and illustrious Songun commander, at the top post of the party and the revolution.

5. According to  KCNA the WPK rules were changed, but I am unsure how.

6. Official Report on Plenum of WPK Central Committee:

The meeting discussed the following agenda items:

1. Election of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee

2. Election of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee

3. Election of Secretaries of the WPK Central Committee and on Organization of the Secretariat

4. On Organization of the WPK Central Military Commission

5. On Appointment of Department Directors of the WPK Central Committee and the Editor-in-Chief of Rodong Sinmun, an Organ of the WPK Central Committee

6. Election of the Control Commission of the WPK Central Committee

The meeting elected the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee and the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee.

It elected secretaries of the WPK Central Committee and organized the Secretariat.

It organized the WPK Central Military Commission.

It appointed department directors of the WPK Central Committee and the editor-in-chief of Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the WPK Central Committee.

It elected chairman, vice-chairmen and members of the Control Commission of the WPK Central Committee.

7. According to KCNA: The Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee is made up of Kim Jong Il, Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Jo Myong Rok and Ri Yong Ho.

8. According to KCNAMembers of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea are Kim Jong Il, Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Jo Myong Rok, Ri Yong Ho, Kim Yong Chun, Jon Pyong Ho, Kim Kuk Thae, Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Yang Hyong Sop, Kang Sok Ju, Pyon Yong Rip, Ri Yong Mu, Ju Sang Song, Hong Sok Hyong and Kim Kyong Hui. Alternate members of the Political Bureau are Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Il, Pak To Chun, Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Song Thaek, Ju Kyu Chang, Ri Thae Nam, Kim Rak Hui, Thae Jong Su, Kim Phyong Hae, U Tong Chuk, Kim Jong Gak, Pak Jong Sun, Kim Chang Sop and Mun Kyong Dok.

9. According to KCNA: The Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea is as follows: Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Secretaries of the C.C., WPK Kim Ki Nam, Choe Thae Bok, Choe Ryong Hae, Mun Kyong Dok, Pak To Chun, Kim Yong Il, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Phyong Hae, Thae Jong Su and Hong Sok Hyong

10. According to KCNA: The Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea is as follows: Chairman Kim Jong Il, Vice-Chairmen Kim Jong Un and Ri Yong Ho and Members Kim Yong Chun, Kim Jong Gak, Kim Myong Guk, Kim Kyong Ok, Kim Won Hong, Jong Myong Do, Ri Pyong Chol, Choe Pu Il, Kim Yong Chol, Yun Jong Rin, Ju Kyu Chang, Choe Sang Ryo, Choe Kyong Song, U Tong Chuk, Choe Ryong Hae and Jang Song Thaek.

11. According to KCNA: Department directors of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea:  Kim Ki Nam, Jang Song Thaek, Kim Yong Il, Kim Phyong Hae, Ri Yong Su, Ju Kyu Chang, Hong Sok Hyong, Kim Kyong Hui, Choe Hui Jong, O Il Jong, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Jong Im, Chae Hui Jong and Thae Jong Su.  Kim Ki Ryong was nominated to be editor-in-chief of Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the WPK Central Committee.

12. According to KCNAMembers and Alternate Members of WPK Central Committee:The following are members of the WPK Central Committee: Kim Jong Il, Kang Nung Su, Kang Tong Yun, Kang Sok Ju, Kang Phyo Yong, Kang Yang Mo, Ko Pyong Hyon, Kim Kuk Thae, Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Kyong Ok, Kim Ki Nam, Kim Ki Ryong, Kim Rak Hui, Kim Myong Guk, Kim Pyong Ryul, Kim Pyong Ho, Kim Song Dok, Kim Song Chol, Kim Jong Gak, Kim Jong Suk, Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Im, Kim Chang Sop, Kim Chol Man, Kim Chun Sam, Kim Thae Bong, Kim Phyong Hae, Kim Hyong Ryong, Kim Hyong Sik, Kim Hi Thaek, Kim Yang Gon, Kim Yong Nam, Kim Yong Chun, Kim Yong Il, Kim Yong Chol, Kim Yong Jin, Kim In Sik, Kim Won Hong, Kwak Pom Gi, Ryang Man Gil, Ryo Chun Sok, Ro Tu Chol, Ro Pae Gwon, Ryu Yong Sop, Ri Ryong Nam, Ri Man Gon, Ri Myong Su, Ri Mu Yong, Ri Pyong Sam, Ri Pyong Chol, Ri Pong Dok, Ri Pong Juk, Ri Thae Nam, Ri Hyong Gun, Ri Hi Hon, Ri Yong Gil, Ri Yong Su, Ri Yong Ho, Ri Yong Mu, Ri Yong Hwan, Ri Yong Chol, Ri Ul Sol, Rim Kyong Man, Mun Kyong Dok, Pak Kwang Chol, Pak To Chun, Pak Myong Chol, Pak Su Gil, Pak Sung Won, Pak Jong Sun, Pak Jong Gun, Pak Jae Gyong, Pak Thae Dok, Pak Ui Chun, Pyon Yong Rip, Pyon In Son, Paek Se Bong, Song Ja Rip, Jang Pyong Gyu, Jang Song Thaek, Jang Chol, Jon Kil Su, Jon Ryong Guk, Jon Pyong Ho, Jon Jin Su, Jon Chang Bok, Jon Ha Chol, Jon Hui Jong, Jong Myong Do, Jong Ho Gyun, Jong In Guk, Jo Kyong Chol, Jo Myong Rok, Jo Pyong Ju, Ju Kyu Chang, Ju Sang Song, Ju Yong Sik, Cha Sung Su, Chae Hui Jong, Choe Kyong Song, Choe Ryong Hae, Choe Pu Il, Choe Sang Ryo, Choe Thae Bok, Choe Hui Jong, Choe Yong Dok, Choe Yong Rim, Thae Jong Su, Han Kwang Bok, Han Tong Gun, Hyon Chol Hae, Hyon Yong Chol, Hong Sok Hyong, Hong In Bom, An Jong Su, Yang Tong Hun, Yang Hyong Sop, O Kuk Ryol, O Kum Chol, O Su Yong, O Il Jong, U Tong Chuk, Yun Tong Hyon and Yun Jong RinThe alternate members are: Kang Ki Sop, Kang Kwan Ju, Kang Kwan Il, Kang Min Chol, Kang Hyong Bong, Ko Su Il, Kim Kyok Sik, Kim Kye Gwan, Kim Tong Un, Kim Tong Il, Kim Tong I, Kim Tong Il, Kim Myong Sik, Kim Pyong Hun, Kim Pong Ryong, Kim Chang Myong, Kim Chon Ho, Kim Chung Gol, Kim Thae Mun, Kim Hui Yong, Kim Yong Suk, Kim Yong Jae, Kim Yong Ho, Kim Yong Gwang, Kim U Ho, Kwon Hyok Bong, No Kwang Chol, Tong Jong Ho, Tong Yong Il, Ryom In Yun, Ro Kyong Jun, Ro Song Sil, Ryu Kyong, Ri Kuk Jun, Ri Ki Su, Ri Myong Gil, Ri Min Chol, Ri Sang Gun, Ri Song Gwon, Ri Su Yong, Ri Jong Sik, Ri Jae Il, Ri Je Son, Ri Chan Hwa, Ri Chang Han, Ri Chol, Ri Chun Il, Ri Thae Sop, Ri Thae Chol, Ri Hong Sop, Ri Hi Su, Ri Yong Ju, Ri Yong Ho, Ri Il Nam, Pak Ri Sun, Pak Pong Ju, Pak Chang Bom, Paek Kye Ryong, Paek Ryong Chon, So Tong Myong, Son Chong Nam, Song Kwang Chol, Sin Sung Hun, Jang Myong Hak, Jang Yong Gol, Jang Ho Chan, Jon Kyong Son, Jon Kwang Rok, Jon Song Ung, Jon Chang Rim, Jong Myong Hak, Jong Pong Phil, Jong Pong Gun, Jong Un Hak, Jo Song Hwan, Jo Jae Yong, Jo Yong Chol, Ji Jae Ryong, Cha Kyong Il, Cha Jin Sun, Cha Yong Myong, Choe Ki Ryong, Choe Kwan Jun, Choe Tae Il, Choe Pong Ho, Choe Chan Gon, Choe Chun Sik, Choe Hyon, Choe Yong Do, Choe Yong, Thae Hyong Chol, Han Chang Nam, Han Chang Sun, Han Hung Phyo, Ho Song Gil, Hyon Sang Ju, Hong Kwang Sun, Hong So Hon, Hong Sung Mu, Hwang Pyong So, Hwang Sun Hui, Hwang Hak Won, An Tong Chun, Yang In Guk and O Chol San.

13. According to KCNA: The plenum elected chairman, vice-chairmen and members of the Control Commission of the WPK Central Committee. Kim Kuk Thae was elected chairman, Jong Myong Hak first vice-chairman, Ri Tuk Nam vice-chairman and Cha Kwan Sok, Pak Tok Man, Cha Sun Gil and Kim Yong Son members of the commission.

14. According to KCNA: The First Plenary Meeting of the Central Auditing Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea was held here on Sept. 28.  Present there were Kim Chang Su, Pak Myong Sun, Choe Pae Jin, Kim Chol, Sim Chol Ho, O Ryong Il, Kye Yong Sam, Ryu Hyon Sik, Ko Myong Hui, Pang Yong Uk, Jang Jong Ju, Ho Kwang Uk, Ji Tong Sik, Jong Pong Sok and Choe Kwon Su, members of the commission elected at the Conference of the WPK. The meeting elected chairman and vice-chairperson of the commission. Kim Chang Su was elected chairman and Pak Myong Sun vice-chairperson.

15. The Daily NK offers a summary of the conference.

16. Mike has a summary at NK Leadership Watch.

17. The Choson Ilbo reports that the conference was scaled down:

The extraordinary congress of the North Korean Workers Party which convened Tuesday was apparently held at a smaller venue than previously expected. The Mansudae Assembly Hall (The Supreme People’s Assembly building), where it took place, seats 1,000, whereas previous guesses had put it at the 6,000-seater April 25 Cultural Hall or the People’s Cultural Palace, which has 2,000 seats.

That suggests only 500 to 700 delegates attended the congress since a half of the seats at a party congress are normally filled with audience members. In comparison, some 1, 323 delegates attended the second party congress in October 1966.

A high-ranking North Korean defector who saw photos of the latest party congress said it is clear that the event was considerably scaled down, in sharp contrast to the past event that had been held in a festive mood involving some 6,000 people.

A senior source in North Korea also put the number of delegates at about 500, saying even some very senior officials had not been selected as delegates.

The North seems to have downscaled the event due to anxiety over the leadership succession and a volatile mood in the country including signs of public unrest as food rations in Pyongyang were suspended, the source added.

Many people who were unable to fit into the main conference hall reportedly watched the congress on video screens installed at the April 25 Cultural Hall and the People’s Cultural Palace.

18. Previous posts on the conference can be found here in chronological order: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here,  here.

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