Ideological lectures say nuclear power brought together two Koreas at Olympics

A photo of North Korea’s Samjiyon Orchestra with Kim Jong Un after returning
from South Korea for the Pyeongchang Olympics. The group is headed by
Hyon Song Wol(front row, second from right). Image: Rodong Sinmun

The North Korean regime has recently ordered ideological training for its citizens emphasizing that the unified Korean team is a result of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. Sources inside the country say that the training sessions, led by the Organization and Guidance Department of the Korean Workers’ Party, are already underway.

A source in South Pyongan Province reported in a phone conversation with Daily NK on February 13 that “there have been lectures taking place at various Party organization venues during the period of the Winter Olympics, emphasizing that ‘the unified Korean team is all thanks to Kim’s nuclear capabilities.’” The source added that the lectures have arisen from a special order from the Organization and Guidance Department (OGD) at the end of January to strengthen propaganda stressing the superiority of North Korea.

The source added that “following the dissemination of the special order, propaganda and agitation outposts at every level –municipal, county, and provincial–have been creating publications highlighting how the three Kims have dedicated themselves to nuclear development throughout history. These are being distributed at lectures and used as educational material for the ideological training of Party members and laborers.”

During his New Year’s address, Kim stated his willingness to support a successful Pyeongchang Olympics and improve inter-Korean relations. It has been speculated that Kim is pursuing inter-Korean dialogue using the Olympics as a starting point, as a preference to engaging with the US, which maintains its position that North Korea must take steps toward denuclearization. Following the announcement, high-level talks between the two Koreas took place on January 9, and the South Korean government proposed a unified Korean women’s ice hockey team.

Consequently, 27 years after the first unified Korean team was formed for the 1991 International Table Tennis Tournament, a similar show of unity has occurred for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The South Korean government proposed the unified Korean team as a basis for peace and harmony, but recent developments suggest that North Korea views the opportunity as a tool for propaganda to praise the Kim family.

A source in North Pyongan Province added that Kim Yo Jong’s invitation to President Moon to visit North Korea is also being touted as an accomplishment of Kim Jong Un in recent propaganda. Kim Yo Jong, vice director of the Workers’ Party of Korea’s Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD), was sent as a special envoy to deliver the invitation to President Moon and is considered to be part of the “Paektu bloodline,” a myth which the regime uses to legitimize its successive hereditary rule.

He added that lectures are taking place at Party organization offices and factories emphasizing that “the world’s great interest (in the unified Korean team)” is all thanks to Kim Jong Un’s attainment of nuclear capabilities.’” Moreover, “ideological training sessions praising the three Kims and re-teaching the ‘Ten Principles for the Establishment of the Party’s One-Ideology System’ are also underway.”

However, it is a concern for the North Korean regime that the North Korean people are being exposed to news relating to South Korea. According to the sources, there is also ideological training stressing “the need to block the infiltration of decadent bourgeois culture to protect the Party’s unity,” as part of wider efforts to “stop fantasies about South Korea.”  

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