North Korean cadres have high hopes for Moon presidency

[As Heard in North Korea]
Kim Chae Hwan  |  2017-05-15 12:06
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"As Heard in North Korea" articles contain radio programming content broadcast by Unification Media Group [UMG], an independent multimedia consortium targeting North Korean citizens.

North Korean Party cadres have expressed optimism following the news that Moon Jae-in won the South Korean presidential election. Some individuals are particularly hopeful in regards to Moon’s preference for dialogue and negotiation with the North over pressure and isolation.   

Many North Korean cadres remember the economic aid sent by South Korea during the presidencies of Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo Hyun and expect that similar treatment will be forthcoming. 
 
“Cadres from Provincial Party Committees and Provincial People’s Committees are communicating favorable feelings about South Joseon's [South Korea’s] new president. The prevailing opinion is that the Moon administration will be more conciliatory towards the North,” a source in North Hwanghae Province said on May 12.

“The cadres are expecting that economic aid to the North may increase. It will be possible to ascertain whether the regime has made the same assessment when notification comes down from the Central Party leadership to the North Hwanghae Provincial Party Committee.”    

Recently released figures detail the changes in financial support and in-kind aid provided to North Korea during each successive South Korean presidency. According to the findings, Kim Yong Sam’s government gave approximately $1.22 billion, Kim Dae Jung $2.47 billion, Roh Moo Hyun $4.36 billion, Lee Myong Bak $1.97 billion, and Park Geun Hye $337 million. 

“The cadres are optimistic because Moon previously worked for a government that sought to normalize dialogue and provided aid to the North,” said the source. Moon previously served as President Roh Moo Hyun’s chief of staff . 

“There are even some rumors that distribution to the army and special organizations may soon recommence, on the expectation that extra monetary aid to the North Korean government will resuscitate defunct elements of the Public Distribution System,” the source added.

A separate source in North Hamgyong Province added, “Cadres are saying that a liberal left-wing South Korean administration is more favorable than a conservative right-wing government. During the Lee Myung Bak and Park Geun Hye administrations, relations became chilly, but the expectation is that North-South relations will improve under a liberal government.” 

However, the North Korean authorities may also be wary of diminishing hostility among residents toward their southern brethren and respond by strengthening the Sino-North Korean border.  

“An internal order has been handed down from the Central Party stating, ‘It is important to prevent Provincial Party members and workers from developing illusory feelings about the South Joseon puppet state, and it is necessary to thoroughly control and block said influence from reaching the residents,’” the second source added.

During his inaugural address on May 10th, Moon stated, “If the right conditions are met, I will go to Pyongyang.” This has created momentum toward a possible North-South high-level summit during Moon’s term. 

*Edited by Lee Farrand

 
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2017.06.09
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