Archive for the ‘Political economy’ Category

New statues of the Kims in Kanggye

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

UPDATE: A friend sent in a link to the video of the unveiling that appeared on North Korean television:

ORIGINAL POST:

Pictured above (Google Earth:  40.971557°, 126.588980°) the old Kim Il-sung statue in Kanggye, Jagang Province.

Satellite imagery is not recent enough to show the change, but KCNA reports that Kanggye City, the capital of Jagang Province, has received new statues of the deceased Kims:

Pyongyang, October 11 (KCNA) — Statues of President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il were erected in Kanggye City, Jagang Province.

The statue of Kim Il Sung depicts him standing in his military uniform whose coat flying in the wind, his right hand held high and left hand taking a pair of binoculars. He seems to dynamically arouse the army and people of the DPRK to provide a turning-point in the Fatherland Liberation War. The statue of Kim Jong Il imposingly standing in his padded dress conveying so many stories about the Songun revolution depicts him with one of his hands placed on his waist. His face beaming with a broad smile looks as if he were wishing the great Paektusan power a rosy future.

An unveiling ceremony took place on Thursday.

Present there were Kim Yong Nam, Choe Yong Rim, Choe Ryong Hae, Kim Jong Gak, Kim Ki Nam, officials concerned, service personnel, officials and employees of the units who contributed to the erection of the statues, members of the shock brigades and people and school youth and children in the province.

The statues were unveiled by senior party, state and army officials and leading officials of the province.
A floral basket sent by the dear respected Kim Jong Un was laid before the statues.

Laid there then was a floral basket in the joint name of the Central Committee of the Worker’ Party of Korea, the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly and the DPRK Cabinet.

Also placed there were a floral basket in the name of Jagang Province and floral baskets in the name of the party and power organs, bodies of different levels, enterprises, factories and farms, KPA units, etc. in Jagang Province.

All the participants paid tribute in profound reverence to the statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

Kim Yong Nam, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the WPK and president of the Presidium of the SPA, made an unveiling speech.

He said the great Generalissimos paved the way of turning the province, which had been considered as unfit for human habitation, into a good place to live in and made sure that the province took the lead in the drive for building a thriving nation.

Recalling that it was the ardent desire of the people in the province to have statues of the great Generalissimos, he said the statues were erected in a brief span of time on the highest level thanks to their loyalty.

After being briefed on the statues, the participants looked round the statues.

A valued reader pointed out to me some some peculiar language (in the English version of the story). I point it out below:

He seems to dynamically arouse the army and people of the DPRK to provide a turning-point in the Fatherland Liberation War. The statue of Kim Jong Il imposingly standing in his padded dress conveying so many stories about the Songun revolution depicts him with one of his hands placed on his waist.

I have to laugh at the phrase “dynamically arouse”. Someday I will need to work that into a conversation.  And just what would you make of a statue of Kim jong-il “imposingly standing in his padded dress”? If only I was proficient with Photoshop…

This will be the 11th Kim Jong-il statue of which I am aware. At this point we can probably expect new Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il statues to go up in all of the provincial capitals.

All of these statues are constructed by the Mansudae Art Studio in Phyongchon, Pyongyang.

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Kim Jong-il’s model of the DPRK economy

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Writing in the Daily NK, John Cha offers a brief model of the North Korean economy as envisioned by Kim Jong-il:

According to our former teacher Hwang Jang Yop, the economic model that is in place now is a brainchild created by [Kim Jong-il] based solely on his greed for power and control.

In the mid 1970s, [Kim Jong-il], then a young understudy to the throne, devised a three-tiered economy: the Party; the military; and third, the general masses. These units are separate, independent and don’t interact with each other.

The Party economy is operated and managed by the Chosun Workers’ Party. It consists of the most lucrative enterprises in mining, shiitake mushrooms, light manufacturing, fisheries, and other industries that produce foreign currency. Kim the 2nd kept his hand in the Party economy and amassed his personal fortune, which he used to reward his loyal followers, through it. As a result, Party elites enjoy the ‘life of Riley’; the best food, housing, clothing and education for their children. They are able to accumulate wealth.

The military economy consists of production and the sale of arms and munitions, as well as heavy construction projects like roads, railroads, tunnels and power plants. The military sector manages these enterprises, generates its own revenue and feeds a huge army. Military elites do fine as well. They live in fine houses, drive nice cars and so on.

Finally, the general public ends up with whatever is left over. There is no trickling down of any sort. Average workers and farmers scrap for what’s left and barely manage to subsist on their own with no help forthcoming from the Party or the military. The latest typhoons and floods shrank their food supply to a dangerous level, and people worry about the second coming of the famine, not to mention perennial shortages of fuel and electricity.

This anecdote is third hand by its own admission, but if true it is an interesting insight into the mental model under which the former North Korean leader was making policy decisions. I wonder what economic models, if any, have been taught to the new leader.

You can read the full article here:
Who Can Kill the 3-Tiered Economy?
Daily NK
John Cha
2012-10-4

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Unreported Kim Jong-un visit in May

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Pictured Above (Google Earth): Construction of the Sporting Center on Tongil Street ( 38.979300°, 125.702961°)

I watched a documentary of Kim Jong-un’s guidance trips in May 2012 and noticed that there was a visit in the video that was never reported in KCNA (neither the .kp nor the .jp versions) . The visit was to the “Sporting Center in Thongil Street”. I have posted the relevant video to YouTube:

According to the chronology of the video, the guidance trip took place sometime between Kim’s attendance of a performance by the Unhasu Orchestra (2012-5-1) and his guidance trip to the Mangyongdae Funfair (2012-5-9). The visit was unlikely to have taken place on 2012-5-2, however, since Kim is reported to have visited the command of the KPA Air Force (which was not reported in the documentary).

I was unable to recognize the people who attended the guidance trip with Kim, so I asked Michael Madden (NK Leadership Watch), who is quite good at this sort of thing, for some assistance. Here is his response:

[Kim Jong-un] was accompanied at that visit by VMar Choe Ryong Hae, Jang Song Taek, VMar Hyon Chol Hae, Gen. Pak Jae Gyong, Col. Gen. Son Chol Ju, Pak To Chun, Hwang Pyong So and VMar Ri Yong Ho. Also in attendance were members of the Guard Command and KJU’s personal secretariat.

Interestingly, KCNA did report that Choe Ryong Hae visited this facility on May 30 and hinted at the earlier Kim Jong-un visit:

Choe Ryong Hae Makes Field Survey of Sporting Center in Thongil Street

Choe Ryong Hae, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea and director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army, on Wednesday made field survey of the Sporting Center in Thongil Street.

The construction of the modern center for the promotion of the people’s health started at the initiative of the dear respected Kim Jong Un and under his plan. It is now nearing its completion.

There are in the center with a huge plottage hundreds of sports apparatuses of various kinds, recuperation rooms, table tennis halls, a supersonic wave wading pool, etc.

Choe Ryong Hae went round various places of the center associated with footsteps left by Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un with loving care for the people.

Choe underscored the need for builders to fully display the serve-the-people spirit in building, bearing deep in mind the intention of the supreme commander to make the people fully enjoy wealth and prosperity under socialism.

Each sports apparatus is associated with the warm loving care of the supreme commander, Choe said, calling for managing apparatuses and equipment well to provide convenience to visitors on a priority basis.

Going round the meat and fish shop conducive to improving the diet of people, he underscored the need for the officials and servants of the center to fufil their responsibility and role, deeply cherishing their mission as the servants of the people in hearty response to the party’s slogan “We Serve the People!”

He stressed the need for the soldier-builders to thoroughly implement the order of the supreme commander and successfully complete the center as early as possible.

So I am unsure why KCNA never reported on this particular Kim visit. Theories welcome. It makes me wonder what other visits go unreported!

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Mixed prospects for economic reform under Kim Jong-un regime

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2012-7-19

There is increasing speculation that the new Kim Jong Un regime is pushing toward economic reform. This may be due to Kim’s young age, as he is considered to be more open to change than his father.

According to an unnamed South Korean official, there is a growing prospect that North Korea will soon release a new economic reform measure. More and more testimonies from North Korean defectors suggest that since Kim Jong Il’s death, reform measures are slowly taking place. But it is unclear when such new economic reform measure will occur.

North Korea’s behavior also implies that certain economic reform may occur. The spokesperson for the DPRK’s foreign ministry made a statement last month to the KCNA, “The dear respected Kim Jong Un has already set forth a goal of Korean-style development and strategies and tactics for enabling the Korean people to live well with nothing to desire more in the world. He is now wisely leading the general advance of the Korean people for economic construction and improving the standard of people’s living.” This indirectly suggests that the Kim Jong Un regime will put forth a new economic measure.

On the other hand, the content and timing of such still remains uncertain. According to the NK Intellectuals Solidarity, the Central Committee of Workers’ Party decided on a policy to introduce a new economic management system on August 1, one that would be centered around the cabinet.

However, the South Korea-based online newspaper Daily NK released an article on July 10 quoting its source from North Pyongan Province that a new “June 28 Measure” was released internally. This measure is reportedly a type of “our-way” new economic management system, to be enforced from October 1.

What path North Korea will take with the new economic reform is unknown. However, the reform will comprise various economic sectors including agriculture, commerce, production and distribution. Details of the reform are unavailable.

The NK Intellectuals Solidarity predicted that new measures will be centered around the legalization of permitting private investment and commercial activities in service and trade sectors and private contract system for agriculture.

In contrast, Daily NK expects the core of the new economic measure will involve downsizing of cooperative farms (from 10-to-25 people in size to 4-to-6 people) and permit farming in unused lands; enforce government procurement system based on market price and strengthening self-supporting accounting system for companies.

The Choson Sinbo, a Japan-based pro-North Korean newspaper ran an editorial on July 11 that North Korea’s economic revival strategy is to follow the global trend but doing it “our-way.” The news also added that North Korea has already entered the path toward economic restoration and praised Kim Jong Un’s “our-style development goal and strategy” to improve the lives of the people while following the current trend of knowledge-based economy.

The news explicated that emphasis on “following the global trend” did not mean following and copying other nations but aimed for the nation to develop and rise on its own to reach the most advanced level of society. In addition, it is considered a refute against South Korea’s over interpretation about the possibility for opening and reform in North Korea during the Kim Jong Un era.

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Lankov on bribery

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Below I have posted some excerpts from a recent Andrei Lankov article on bribery in the DPRK along with the economic bullet points:

Bribery has little to do with ethics or honesty but relative costs and benefits:

The incorruptibility of the old bureaucracy has a rather simple and rational explanation: Most of the time, it did not pay to be a corrupt official under Kim Il-sung. Money was of surprisingly little use in the 1960s and 1970s, when pretty much everything was rationed and distributed by the state according to predetermined quotas and norms.

In those days officials lived significantly better than the average North Korean, no doubt. But they were affluent not because they had significantly more money (the wage differential between a top official and a humble worker was remarkably low), but rather because they had access to higher-quality goods and services that were not available to the common people. One of my North Korean interlocutors said: “Back in the 1980s, I did not care about money. Nobody did, since money did not buy much in those days.” In those days, in the 1970s or 1980s, one had to be an official to drink beer every week, to smoke cigarettes with filters, or feast on pork a few times a month. But officials did not buy these goods at market; rather they received them from the state as part of their special (very special) rations.

In this situation, it did not make sense for an official to accept bribes as a reward for overlooking some misbehavior or violations of some rules. Money would not be particularly useful and at the same time there was a significant risk of being caught. If caught, an unlucky official would at best lose his or her job and at worst even freedom, and no amount of money would compensate for this disaster.

In highly regulated economies, bribery and growth are positively correlated:

We are conditioned to see official corruption as an evil, but in present-day North Korea, corruption might be a life-saver. The average North Korean gets most of his or her income (about 75%, if recent estimates are to be believed) from private economic activities – these include private agriculture, trade and small-scale household production, and myriad other things. Nonetheless, nearly all of these activities remain technically illegal. Unlike China, North Korea has never undertaken serious economic reform, so private economic activities are still considered crimes, even though they have long become, in practice, a universal norm (and without such activities many would be unable to stay alive).

The only reason these activities are able to exist is corruption. Without widespread corruption, many more North Koreans would probably have perished in the great famine because there would have been no way to have private agriculture, and it would have been nearly impossible for private traders to move food across the country, delivering it to areas where the food situation was especially dire. After all, trade in grain and long-distance travel for commercial purposes are both technically crimes. No markets would be possible had the local bureaucracy been serious about enforcing a multitude of bans and restrictions on commercial activities.

Although corruption will lead to low levels of growth, it will impede overall development in the long-term:

Even when the Kim family regime meets its eventual demise, when a new North Korea emerges, the culture of corruption may remain as part of its heritage. And perhaps eventually it will become a serious burden to a resurgent North Korean economy.

Regarding this last point, see this post.

Read the full story here:
North Korea’s culture of bribery
Asia Times
Andrei Lankov
2012-7-13

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A brief analysis of Kim Jong Un’s onsite inspections for the last six months

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2012-7-10

June 30 marked the six-month period since Kim Jong Un was appointed as the supreme leader, after the sudden death of his father, Kim Jong Il on December 17.

For the first six months in power, Kim Jong Un made a total of 80 official activities, which was 19 activities more than Kim Jong Il, in the same period, last year. Out of the 80 official activities, 28 (35 percent) activities were military related. This is drastically higher than his father’s 3 activities, a mere 5 percent of his total activities. Kim Jong Un holds the top titles in the military, party, and the government as the supreme leader, first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and first chairman of the Korean People’s Army. But he mainly concentrated on the military for the first half of 2012.

However, his inspection to military units gradually decreased, from 10 in January to 5 from February to April. In May, he made 3 visits while he did not make any visits in June. This suggests he is slowly retreating from military related activities.

In the first half of 2011, Kim Jong Il concentrated heavily on the economy, making 29 onsite inspections (48 percent) to economic sectors while Kim Jong Un has made only 3 visits (3.8 percent) thus far. However, Kim Jong Un made 16 visits to the construction sites of apartment buildings, amusement parks, and other community related sites and appeared in 9 commemorative photo sessions. Upon a closer examination, Kim Jong Un engrossed on visiting military units from January to April and switched over to housing and community sites from May to June. This can be interpreted as an effort in following his father’s undertaking to revive the economy, taking heed to the improvement of welfare for the people.

In particular, it is interesting to note that North Korean media is reporting photo sessions as official activities of its leader. Kim Jong Il has also took photos after his official visits but Kim Jong Un is attending photo sessions as the sole activity. Many experts construe this as image manipulation attempt, to associate Kim Jong Un with Kim Il Sung, as he mingles with the people in photographs.

Another major difference with his father is Kim Jong Un’s lack of diplomatic activities. Kim Jong Il made numerous visits to China and Russia last year and engaged in a total of 7 diplomatic activities which includes inviting Meng Jianzhu, Chinese minister of public security visit to Pyongyang in February. Except for sending congratulatory messages to Cuba and other countries, Kim Jong Un has yet to engage in diplomatic meetings.

One commonality is, Kim Jong Un like his father is enjoying various cultural performances between field inspections. Kim Jong Il is recorded to have attended 18 performances while Kim Jong Un attended 8.

The latest report by KCNA on Kim Jong Un’s official activity is visit to nearly completed Rungra People’s Pleasure Park and the construction site of Breast Cancer Institute in Pyongyang Maternity Hospital on July 1. This is his official visit in 24 days since he attended the 66th anniversary ceremony of Korean Children’s Union.

On the other hand, while Kim Jong Un is increasing contact with the people, control and regulation of the people are also stiffened. After Kim Jong Un rise to power, the number of defectors is steadily declining. According to the Ministry of Unification, only 610 defectors entered the country this year (January to May), which is a drop of 42.6 percent from the previous year of 1,062. An official from MOU confirmed that the decrease in the number of defectors can be attributed to the tightened border control by the North Korean authorities.

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The natural state: The political-economy of non-development

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Economic historians Douglass C. North, John Joseph Wallis, and Barry R. Weingast published a paper in 2005 (later included in their book Violence and Social Orders, 2009) titled “The Natural State: The Political-Economy of Non-Development”.

You can read the paper here (PDF). Please do so with the DPRK in mind.

Though written at a theoretical level (not-specific to the DPRK) the authors do what I consider a remarkable job at creating a model that coherently explains some of the inconsistencies and peculiar behaviors of the DPRK government–particularly with respect to economic policy.

Implications of the model: Natural states use economic policy (privileged access to valuable resources or rights) as a mechanism to promote the stability of the ruling coalition. However, since natural orders rely on personal exchange, contracts and agreements cannot be credibly enforced over a horizon longer than the ruler’s life. As a result natural states can achieve some low levels of economic growth but are not able to easily achieve “development” (and there is a difference).

I have pasted some relevant sections of the paper below:

(more…)

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Kim Jong-un makes field guidance visits in various community facilities

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2012-6-1

Recently, Kim Jong Un is making a series of visits around various sports and recreational facilities in Pyongyang including Mangyongdae and Kaeson Youth Amusement parks, Ryugyong Health Complex, and People’s Outdoor Ice Rink.

Kim Jong Un is reported to have made field guidance visits to the construction site of Changjon Street, which is approaching its completion. The street will be home to 5 to 45-story apartment buildings with preschools, kindergartens, secondary schools, pharmacy and other educational and health facilities as well as various welfare and service facilities in the vicinity.

The KCNA reported on May 25 the details of Kim Jong Un’s visit to the site.

Kim Jong Un went round various restaurants, shops and stalls and parking lot in the basement, etc. to acquaint himself in detail with the construction of the street.

He looked round various parts of Haemaji Restaurant built in a peculiar style and was satisfied with it.

He made the rounds of various other restaurants including the combined restaurant of the Jung District and Unjong Teahouse built in diverse styles to learn in detail about their size, furnishings, decorations, ventilation, etc.

He personally sat on a chair of the restaurant and underscored the need to thoroughly abide by the principle of guaranteeing convenience first and architectural beauty next when designing and manufacturing any furniture so that it may be convenient for use and look nice.

The KCNA elaborated on Kim’s comments as he looked around the establishment.

He said with pride that the successful construction of the modern street by the efforts of Koreans as required by the new century is a demonstration of the validity of the WPK’s idea of architectural aesthetics and the potential of the Juche-based self-supporting economy.

He indicated important tasks to serve as guidelines for building Pyongyang into a more magnificent city as required by the Songun era

It is also necessary to distribute well educational, healthcare, sports, cultural and welfare facilities and welfare service bases on the principle of ensuring popular character, national identity and modernity.

In addition to these visits, Kim previously gave a talk “On Effecting a Drastic Turn in Land Management to Meet the Requirements for Building a Thriving Socialist Nation” on April 27 with leading officials of the party, state economic bodies, and working people’s organizations to propose a large scale plans for land management.

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What did Kim jong-il Want?

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

I am in the middle of moving back to the DC area, but I wanted to quickly post an article by Dr. Petrov: “What did Kim Jong-il want?”

Speculations about the Last Will and Testament of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, who died on 17 December last year, are mounting and raise many questions about the future of inter-Korean relations. Separate parts of the alleged document have been recently obtained by the South Korean think tanks, the Sejong Institute and North Korea Strategic Information Service Centre…

A Word version of the article is here.

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DPRK updates constitution and declares self “nuclear power”

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

UPDATE 1 (2012-6-14): The Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES) has published an article on the DPRK’s constitutional revisions:

North Korea’s official web portal, Naenara, or “My country” released the entire text of the DPRK’s Constitution, which was amended on April 13 by the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA).

According to the amended Constitution, the constitution is now referred to as the “Kim Il Sung–Kim Jong Il Constitution.” It was formerly known as the “Kim Il Sung Constitution.” The preamble also includes the achievements of Kim Jong Il, crediting him with making North Korea a nuclear power.

The amended preamble eulogizes Kim Jong Il as a “patriot without parallel who exalted the dignity of our people and our national power to supreme status.”

It also credits Kim Jong Il with turning “our motherland into an ever-victorious power of political thought, a nuclear power and an invincible military power and opened a great, brilliant path to the construction of a powerful and prosperous nation.”

It added, “In the midst of the collapse of world socialism and the wicked attacks of the imperialist alliance, Kim Jong Il gloriously defended the noble socialist inheritance of comrade Kim Il Sung with military-first politics, turning our nation into an invincible political ideological state, nuclear-armed state and undefeatable militarily strong state, and paving the glorious way to the construction of the strong and prosperous state.”

The amended Constitution extols Kim Il Sung’s and Kim Jong Il’s accomplishments and particularly emphasized the success of two nuclear tests leading to the country’s rise as a nuclear power.

The renamed “Kim Il Sung–Kim Jong Il Constitution” emphasized the lineage of Mount Paektu passed on from Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, and finally on to Kim Jong Un.

In the Constitution, Section 1 of Chapter 6 (State Organs) on the Supreme People’s Assembly included the provision of the title “Chairman of the National Defense Commission” to “First Chairman of the National Defense Commission.”

In the same chapter, Article 107 of Section 2 states, “The National Defense Commission consists of First Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and members.” Previously, it stated that the NDC consisted of the Chairman, First Vice-Chairman, Vice-Chairmen, and members.

In addition, Article 91 states the powers of the SPA which include the authority to “elect or recall the First Chairman of the National Defense Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” (Clause 5) and “elect or recall Vice-Chairman and members of the National Defense Commission on the recommendations of the First Chairman of the National Defense Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” (Clause 7).

ORIGINAL POST (2012-5-31): Although as of 2012-6-14 the English-language version of the Naenara web page has not been updated, at the end of May, the Korean-language version of the Naenara web page was updated with the latest version of the North Korean constitution.

You can read the Google Translate version of the preamble at this web page.  The translation is not great, but it is readable.

Paragraph eight of the preamble is the section drawing the most media attention:

김정일동지께서는 세계사회주의체계의 붕괴와 제국주의련합세력의 악랄한 반공화국압살공세속에서 선군정치로 김일성동지의 고귀한 유산인 사회주의전취물을 영예롭게 수호하시고 우리 조국을 불패의 정치사상강국, 핵보유국, 무적의 군사강국으로 전변시키시였으며 강성국가건설의 휘황한 대통로를 열어놓으시였다.

Chris Green at the Daily NK translates it this way:

“In the midst of the collapse of world socialism and the wicked attacks of the imperialist alliance,” the most notable phrase declares, “Kim Jong Il gloriously defended the noble socialist inheritance of comrade Kim Il Sung with military-first politics, turning our nation into an invincible political ideological state, nuclear-armed state and undefeatable militarily strong state, and paving the glorious way to the construction of the strong and prosperous state.”

Chris Green also notes:

It has been revealed that last month’s Supreme People’s Assembly session in Pyongyang, the event which saw Kim Jong Il enshrined as eternal chairman of the National Defense Commission and Kim Jong Eun elevated to 1st chairman of the same body, also saw North Korea amend the ‘Socialist Constitution of the DPRK’. Most controversially, the revised constitution declares North Korea to be a nuclear-armed state.

[...]

Elsewhere, pre-existing clauses have been lightly amended to include reference to Kim Jong Il alongside his father. For example, the opening sentence of the preamble now states, “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the socialist motherland of Juche which has applied the idea and leadership of great leader comrade Kim Il Sung and great leader comrade Kim Jong Il.” The pre-existing sentence ended on the words “Kim Il Sung.”

The Hankyoreh notes:

Pyongyang’s decision to list itself as a nuclear state indicates that it has no intention of giving up its nuclear program. The North Korean regime apparently has not been deterred by the possibility of an international dispute, given Washington and Seoul’s refusal to recognize its right to nuclear arms.

A government official said, “With North Korea officially stating its possession of nuclear capabilities in its Constitution, denuclearization is looking even less likely. All this has done is fan apprehensions in other concerned nations.” Other analysts suggested the move was intended by domestic political concerns, specifically to legitimize Kim Jong-un as ruler.

Yonhap reports that the US has declared that it will never recognize the DPRK as a nuclear state. South Korea said much the same thing.

 

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