Shenyang, China — It has been reported that the North Korean authorities have instructed committees of the Party to undertake a “150-day battle” to achieve enhanced production targets. The instruction was conveyed to the entire membership of the Workers Party in a secret letter from the Central Committee of the Party in March.
A source from North Pyongan Province told The Daily NK on the 4th, “The 150-day battle will progress from May 10th, the foundation day of the Workers’ Party, to October 10th. The fundamental aims are the construction of houses, the normalization of farming and railroads and enhancing the activities of local factories and mines.”
A source from North Hamkyung Province also reported the same information, saying that, “A decree from the Central Committee of the Party was handed down entitled, ‘On carrying out the 150-day battle.’ However, the details have not been reported.”
The reason why Pyongyang is encouraging members of the Workers Party to embark on the 150-day battle is nothing less than its own salvation; to build a “strong and prosperous state” by 2012 in the current situation where foreign aid is decreasing due to several recent, provocative acts including the missile launch of April 5th. Sources analyze that the authorities have decided, not for the first time, to try and squeeze fresh production achievements from the manpower of the citizens.
One of the sources said, “The backdrop to the 150-day battle is to prepare an economic breakthrough to achieve their purpose: completion of the strong and prosperous state by 2012. There is also another meaning: that we are trying to form the foundations to live by ourselves, standing up to the U.S. sanctions against us.”
The Workers Party handed over the secret letter, “Announcement to members of the Party,” on March 10, immediately after the delegates’ election to the Supreme People’s Assembly. In the letter, it suggested detailed tasks to complete a strong and prosperous socialist state by 2012.
The precise production goals for the strong and prosperous state announced in the letter were to generate 7.76 million kilowatts of electricity a year, produce 33 million metric tons of metal, 13 million metric tons of coal and 7 million metric tons of food, move 72 million metric tons of freight and, additionally, modernize the economy and technology-intensive industries.
North Korea has suggested such targets and undertaken citizen renovation campaigns when it has faced difficulties before. The most obvious cases were the “100-day battle” of 1978 and the “200-day battle” which took place 10 years later.
During the “200-day battle” of 1988, the North Korean authorities completed facilities for the 13rd World Festival of Youth and Students, the first phase of construction of both the Suncheon Vinylon Complex and Sariwon Kalium Fertilizer Factory, and the construction of a 100 kilowatt hydraulic power plant and extension at the Kim Chaek Steel Mill.