The North Korea government has long been increasing public anticipation that next year will represent the start of the ‘strong and prosperous state’; however, once again the People’s Army has been handed first priority for receipt of this year’s grain harvest.
According to sources in Pyongyang today, on two occasions, the 7th and 19th of last month, North Korea’s Commander-in-Chief (meaning Kim Jong Il) and the Party Central Committee ordered administrative organs, cooperative farm management committees and parts of the state food network to send food to the Chosun People’s Army stocks first.
One source explained, “Prior to the harvest, farms were instructed to conduct an ideological drive to secure provisions for the army, with each manager handed orders to fulfill a set plan for military supplies.”
Official documents further stated that the relevant organs had to put in place practical plans to provide the electricity, fuel and transportation needed to transmit the provisions to the army, while emphasizing a number of reasons why efforts to block thievery or other mishandling of the domestic grain harvest had to be enhanced.
The source went on, “Central organs took the order from the Commander-in-Chief and Party Central Committee and passed it on to the provinces directly, launching an ideological mobilization drive and emphasizing the battle to secure extensive military food stocks.”
In North Korea, both the people and the military are suffering under the weight of malnutrition, and in the case of the military this is driving rising numbers of AWOL soldiers and weakening relations with local civilians.
In the midst of which, the order from North Korea’s central leadership appears to represent circumstantial evidence of official concerns that plans to increase food production this year in advance of 2012 will not bear any fruit.