DPRK newspaper stresses prudence of ‘Juche economy’

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No. 10-09-28-1

While hopes had been raised following Kim Jong Il’s recent visit to China that the North may undergo some reform and opening, an editorial in the Rodong Sinmun, newspaper of the Workers’ Party of Korea, emphasizes the prudence of following the DPRK-style ‘Juche’ Economy’, and rejecting support from foreign powers. The article, which appeared on September 18, stressed the value of Juche as the tool for reviving the economy, and stated that there was no greater sin than passing on a “crippled economy” to the next generation. It emphasized the selfishness of living well only by the support of outside powers, as this provides no sustainable economy for future generations.

The paper went on to call on North Koreans to work together, stating that “there is no time like the present, when the principle of realizing Juche stands out in its universality,” and said that it is the current trend of economic development to “develop the resources of one”s own country, and to concentrate efforts on using [domestic] materials… If we actively develop our inexhaustible resources, we can live wealthily and raise the funds necessary for the construction of an economically strong state.” After stressing the implementation of Juche and self-reliance, the newspaper added, “If we rely on our own strengths and bring in foreign capital, we can avoid the serious crisis we are now facing, or we ultimately would not be able to choose this path.”

The newspaper also emphasized that the people of North Korea, “descendants of Comrade Kim Il Sung,” must not live selfishly, and “must not retreat even half a step on the road to Juche implementation,” urging that the current state of dependence on outside technology and resources cannot be tolerated. Kim Jong Il is quoted as saying that Juche must be firmly established in every realm of construction and development “today, tomorrow, and always” as the “revolutionary spirit of revival through one’s own efforts” is lifted high, and all problems must be resolved through one’s own strength. In particular, he is quoted as emphasizing “there can be not even a little flunkeyism and reliance on the outside,” and promising that the Workers’ Party will strive “to build an independent economy based on Juche philosophy.”

It is nothing new for North Korea to call for the establishment of a Juche-driven self-reliant economy, but it is noteworthy that the Rodong Sinmun would run such an article soon after Kim Jong Il’s trip to China and China economic development was so highly lauded. Kim said during his summit with Hu Jintao at the end of last month that China’s development was “spirited” everywhere and that China had “developed quickly after reform and opening.” The Rodong Sinmun editorial is likely a result of concerns that expectations for reform and dependence on outside forces might be growing within North Korea following Kim’s remarks about Chinese growth, and that this could complicate the effort to appoint Kim Jung Eun as successor.


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