Analysis on the Annual Editorial of North Korea

The common editorial on the 1st was presented in North Korea’s newspapers like Rodong Shinmun, the Chosun People’s Army and the Youths’ Advance Guard, as a new year’s address to open the year, and strongly showed the following characteristics to be divided into four major areas: military first politics, economic structuring, “among our people,” and North-South economic cooperation. Yet, it did not mention the nuclear issue and U.S. relations,

Moreover, it emphasized that this year was the 60th anniversary of the government’s establishment and stated that with 2012 as the 100th anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birthday, the country should raise the standards of its economy to head towards a strengthened country.

However, the common editorial was overall weak and empty in content. It showed its concerns about the non-socialist conditions that have been repeated for several years and embodied a sense of nervousness about the continuation of North-South economic cooperation with the entrance of the Lee Myung Bak government.

Politics

Emphasizing the 60th anniversary of the government’s establishment, they bring up the 100th anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birthday in 2012 but the content is empty. They have been stressing the establishment of a strengthened country for last 10 years but it’s been losing its grasp. Rather, with the reference to “the destruction of ideological and cultural invasion of the enemy as an anti-revolutionary means and the psychological approaches” there is a sense of nervousness on the sustenance of the regime. The emphasis of a socialist system in the common editorial has been a phenomenon extending over 10 years. Thus, it would be difficult to be embraced by the people as well.

Military

It emphasized the military-first politics and the military industry as the material base to support this. Stressing the “Do-or-die spirit of the guard executives for revolution”, there are stronger expressions on the protection of the Kim Jong Il regime.

Economy

The expression, “Strengthening the Independence of the People’s Economy” is a variation of the “Revival of Self-Power” that has been repeatedly stressed and thus doesn’t have a core. More than anything, the pressing situation on the food shortage was emphasized. With the expression, “the Primacy of People’s Lives” we can tell that the focus on the editorial is the establishment of the economy.

Moreover, although it stresses that “All economic businesses need to be concentrated on the cabinet and concrete rules and regulations towards a systematic approach need to be established under a unified leadership. The fundamental way to reach victory in the overall battle depends on the way of Our General under the military-first leadership of the Party.” Such statement has a hidden intention to maintain the line of command of Kim Jong Il even in the economic businesses.

North-South Relations

The common editorial has a strong sense of “Uriminjokkiri (among our People).” There is an indirect expression of nervousness on the entrance of the Lee Myung Bak government and a strong attachment to the October 4 Declaration, the result of the Summit.

On this note it can be seen that the question of aid given to the North can be used as leverage to control North Korea in a self-sustaining way by the South’ new administration. Thus, it has the meaning that symbiotic or an elastic symbiotic relation has risen to a higher level to negotiate with the North.

The argument “Changing the Cease-fire negotiation to a Peace negotiation”

This stresses the long-term effect of eventually removing the U.S. troops in South Korea but also has a similar argument of the “Possible Peace regime before Denuclearization” carried on by the Roh Moo Hyun administration.

In addition, the editorial also stated “regardless of the political parties of the North and South and the different levels and organizations with their own viewpoints, there needs to be a sense of unity with the formation of the people to subdue all other issues under the goal of making unification a reality. We need to turn our backs to the generational flow regarding unification and not accept the pro-U.S. and antipatriotic actions that impede national unity and compromise.”

With such argument, this can be stated as an indirect reference to Lee Myung Bak and the Grand National Party that proved victorious in the South Korean presidential elections. This stresses the fact that the South Korean government also should stress the need for the people’s unity instead of international unity. Reviewing this, it seems to also protrude a sense of anxiety regarding the U.S. alliance that the new government may take and head to an international unity.

Overall, the common editorial seems to stress the establishment of the economy, but this is not a confident attitude towards the following ideas: a definitive solution to a strengthened state, non-socialist formation, independence of people-based politics, military-first politics and military industry and “among our people.” Such seems to show that there is no huge difference in the last 10 years of the direction of the editorials.

Thus it is difficult to expect a distinctive conclusion of North Korea in the nuclear issue and the emphasis will only add to a tense result in the U.S. relations in the future.

As seen in the editorial, there seems to be a stronger view on the reliance upon the South Korean economy and this is not ignored. They state “the economic cooperation is expected to continue” and there is a sense of “lost pride”. There seems to be a loss in the power of the Kim Jong Il regime.

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