|The socialist Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has reaffirmed its iron determination to continue standing face-to-face against the United States on the anti-imperialist front line, whilst pursuing the twin-track policy of developing the national economy and improving people’s living standards and simultaneously strengthening its defence power, including the nuclear deterrent for self-defence.
This was a key message contained in the New Year address by DPRK leader Comrade Kim Jong Un, delivered on 1 January. The message also dealt with many other important topics, including the struggle for national reunification.
Achievements in economic construction
Summarising the achievements in the two areas of defence and economic construction in 2014, Comrade Kim Jong Un said:
“Last year, the fighting efficiency of the People’s Army was increased remarkably and national defence capability was built up ... The defence industry sector developed and completed various means of military strike of our style, to make a tangible contribution to the qualitative growth of the revolutionary armed forces.
“Last year, we made great progress in the building of a socialist economic giant and civilised nation by the joint effort of the army and people. Even in the difficult situation and adverse conditions last year, an upswing was brought about in production in different sectors, including agriculture, fishery and the chemical and coal-mining industries, opening up bright prospects for the building of an economic giant and the improvement of the people’s living standards.”
Priorities for 2015
The context for this year’s work, he noted, was that 2015 will see the seventieth anniversary of Korea’s national liberation from Japanese colonial rule, on 15 August, and of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea, on 10 October. These should be celebrated as “revolutionary and auspicious events”, he said.
Developing the nation’s scientific foundation was identified as a key task in order to boost economic development under conditions where the imperialist powers, especially the USA, are constantly seeking to find ways to tighten the sanctions noose around the DPRK:
“The front of science should forcefully rush ahead in the vanguard of building a thriving socialist country, thereby foiling the enemy’s pernicious moves for sanctions and encouraging all the economic sectors to make rapid headway on the strength of the high-running spirit of independence and of science and technology.”
Indeed, the speech was delivered in the context of a major imperialist offensive against the DPRK. In the preceding weeks, two resolutions were forced through the United Nations, in which some of the world’s leading human rights abusers joined forces to accuse the DPRK of some of the very crimes of which they themselves are abundantly guilty. Much of the supposed ‘evidence’ used against the DPRK in this regard was provided by a defector who calls himself Shin Dong Hyok, and who, much to the embarrassment of his wire pullers, now even admits himself that he fabricated most of his claims. No matter – the stooge has served his purpose.
Then, President Obama himself declared that the DPRK was responsible for hacking the Sony Corporation – in apparent response to Sony’s production of a vulgar, scatological work of political pornography, depicting the murder of Comrade Kim Jong Un – and the US ‘in response’ sanctioned a number of DPRK economic officials, with no conceivable connection to the matter.
Speaking of these new sanctions, Representative Edward R Royce, chairman of the US house committee on foreign affairs, declared:
“The significance of this new Executive Order may come from the broad power it gives the president to target anyone who is a part of the north Korean government or is assisting them in any way for anything. That is, if the administration chooses to use it to its full advantage.” (Our emphasis)
Despite the draconian nature of his measures, Obama has not even bothered to try to fabricate any supposed evidence against the DPRK. In this, he has hit a new low. Even the George W Bush administration at least sought to fabricate ‘evidence’ in an attempt to justify the invasion of Iraq. Moreover, numerous independent cyber experts in both the United States and Britain have largely dismissed accusations of DPRK involvement.
As if to try to fill the evidence void, the New York Times belatedly carried the ‘revelation’ that the National Security Agency (NSA) knew the DPRK was guilty of hacking because the NSA had been hacking the DPRK’s systems for years. Meanwhile Obama, apparently oblivious to the double standards he was displaying, was intoning how sanctions against the DPRK were needed to keep American corporations safe from hackers!
A tasteless piece of state department propaganda
What has been established as a result of the hacking revelations is that, far from being an innocent work of ‘entertainment’, however distasteful, the filmmakers consulted throughout with the state department, and with Korea ‘experts’ from establishment think tanks such as the Rand Corporation, who were adamant that the murder of the DPRK’s supreme leader had to be graphically depicted in their production.
Preparing for self-defence in case of attack
Confronted by this grim situation, Comrade Kim Jong Un made no attempt to disguise the arduous nature of both defence and economic tasks.
Calling for the strengthening of the various people’s militia forces, he said that they should get “fully prepared for an all-people resistance, so that they can defend their own provinces, counties and villages by themselves” – that is, that they should prepare for people’s war.
And in order to significantly raise people’s living standards, he stressed the need to “resolve the food problem”, for light industry to “work out a strategy for fending for itself”, to relieve the “shortage of electricity”, including by economising to the maximum, as well as the need to diversify external economic relations and to improve economic management.
The whole country and the whole people needed to have the “fighting spirit of rising up no matter how often one may fall”, whilst officials needed to “eliminate defeatism, self-preservation and expediency”.
The issue dearest to the hearts of the Korean people is the struggle for national reunification, so it was only natural that it should take up a major part of Comrade Kim Jong Un’s address. He said:
“Seventy years have passed since our nation was divided by outside forces.
“In those decades, the world has made a tremendous advance and the times have undergone dramatic changes, but our nation has not yet achieved reunification, suffering the pain of division. It is a deplorable fact known to everyone and it is lamentable to everyone. No longer can we bear and tolerate the tragedy of national division that has continued century after century.
“Last year, we put forward crucial proposals for improved inter-Korean relations and national reunification, and made sincere efforts for their implementation. Our efforts, however, could not bear due fruit owing to the obstructive moves by the anti-reunification forces within and without; instead, the north-south relations have been on a headlong rush to aggravation.
“However complicated the situation may be, and whatever obstacles and difficulties may stand in our way, we should unfailingly achieve national reunification, a lifetime wish of the president (Comrade Kim Il Sung) and the general (Comrade Kim Jong Il), and the greatest desire of the nation, and build a dignified and prosperous reunified country on this land ...
“We should remove the danger of war, ease the tension and create a peaceful environment on the Korean peninsula.
“The large-scale war games ceaselessly held every year in south Korea are the root cause of the escalating tension on the peninsula and of the danger of nuclear war facing our nation. It is needless to say that there can be neither trustworthy dialogue nor improved inter-Korean relations in such a gruesome atmosphere, in which war drills are staged against the dialogue partner.
“To cling to nuclear war drills against one’s fellow countrymen in collusion with aggressive outside forces is an extremely dangerous act of inviting calamity ...
“The south Korean authorities should discontinue all war moves, including the reckless military exercises they conduct with foreign forces, and choose to ease the tension on the Korean peninsula and create a peaceful environment.
“The United States, the very one that divided our nation into two and has imposed the suffering of national division upon it for 70 years, should desist from pursuing its anachronistic policy hostile towards the DPRK and its reckless acts of aggression and boldly make a policy switch.
“The north and the south should refrain from seeking confrontation of systems while absolutising their own ideologies and systems, but achieve great national unity true to the principle of ‘By Our Nation Itself’, to satisfactorily resolve the reunification issue in conformity with the common interests of the nation.
“If they try to force their ideologies and systems upon each other, they will never settle the national reunification issue in a peaceful way, only bringing confrontation and war.
“Though the people-centred socialist system of our own style is the most advantageous, we do not force it on south Korea and have never done so.
“The south Korean authorities should neither seek ‘unification of systems’ that incites distrust and conflict between the north and the south nor insult the other side’s system and make impure solicitation to do harm to their fellow countrymen ...
“The north and the south, as they had already agreed, should resolve the national reunification issue in the common interests of the nation, transcending the differences in ideology and system.
“They should briskly hold dialogue, negotiations and exchanges and make contact to relink the severed ties and blood vessels of the nation and bring about a great turn in inter-Korean relations.
“It is the unanimous desire of the fellow countrymen for both sides to stop fighting and pave a new way for reunification by concerted efforts. They should no longer waste time and energy over pointless arguments and trifling matters but write a new chapter in the history of inter-Korean relations.
“Nothing is impossible if our nation shares one purpose and joins efforts ... We think that it is possible to resume the suspended high-level contacts and hold sectoral talks if the south Korean authorities are sincere in their stand towards improving inter-Korean relations through dialogue.
“And there is no reason why we should not hold a summit meeting if the atmosphere and environment for it are created.
“In the future, too, we will make every effort to substantially promote dialogue and negotiations.
“The entire Korean nation should turn out together in the nationwide movement for the country’s reunification so as to glorify this year as a landmark in opening up a broad avenue to independent reunification.”
It remains to be seen how the south Korean authorities, never mind the United Stares, will respond to this generous, broad-minded and magnanimous approach. The US was quick to dismiss a follow-up offer from the DPRK authorities for a moratorium on its nuclear development in exchange for a halt to hostile military exercises and war rehearsals.
The US’s south Korean puppets continue to persecute Korean patriots
And, whilst south Korea’s leaders reacted cautiously to Comrade Kim Jong Un’s speech, neither accepting nor rejecting his proposals, they have intensified a ferocious wave of repression against pro-reunification forces, reminiscent of the worst days of military dictatorship, which were presided over by the father of the present south Korean president.
In the first year of Park Geun Hye’s presidency, 119 people were arrested under the notorious national security law, which criminalises any expression of support for the DPRK or for Marxism. Last year, the leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), an elected member of parliament, was imprisoned for 12 years on trumped-up charges (a conviction upheld on appeal, but with the sentence reduced to nine years), and in December the constitutional court disbanded the party, removing its other five MPs from parliament – the first time such an act had occurred since 1958.
This January, a Korean-American woman writer, Shin Eun Mi was arrested, threatened with imprisonment and deported for supposedly ‘praising the DPRK’, based on her visits to the socialist north, in lectures. Even the Economist, no friend of the DPRK, noted rather sardonically that:
“She riled conservatives by saying that north Korea’s beer tasted good, that its rivers were clean and that its people were warm-hearted – hardly controversial propositions to most visitors to the north.” (‘Banned praise’, 17 January 2015)
Meanwhile, on 12 January, another MP, this time from the main opposition party, the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, was summoned for police questioning for allegedly attending some of Ms Shin’s talks. Rim Su Gyong is further accused of retweeting pro-DPRK tweets.
Ms Rim is famous in Korea as the “flower of unification”. As a progressive student leader, she participated in the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students, held in the DPRK capital, Pyongyang, in July 1989, as the sole delegate from south Korea, and met the Korean leader Comrade Kim Il Sung. On her return home, she served two-and-a-half years of a five-year prison term.
In actual fact, all that the south Korean authorities are proving with these obsessively repressive measures is their fear that the policies of the DPRK could not but be attractive to the people of the south, who invariably long for the reunification of their country. The regime therefore resorts to outright terror methods to suppress all or any information about the DPRK and gives free rein to its own disinformation, designed to preserve its exploitation and oppression of the south Korean masses, whose militancy it is very much afraid of.