While observing the economic facilities for a while, Kim Jong Il, who has put on the gesture of emphasizing “economics,” has recently come forward to look after the army once again.
Last 5th and 6th, North Korea’s Workers Party-sponsored Rodung Shinmun reported that Kim Jong Il visited the 967th and the 977th army one after another.
According to this source, Kim Jong Il relayed, “The fate of our military-first revolution as our great revolutionary inheritance and our socialist enterprise depends on the military power.” At the 977th army, he revealed, “I am pleased that the soldiers have an awakened mind and are responsibly carrying out inspections work.”
This year, Kim Jong Il’s army inspections include seven visits, including the recent ones: 593rd army (January 15th), 398th joint army (January 16th), 105th army (March 19th), 350th army (March 19th), and the 75th anniversary parade of the establishment of the People’s Army.
Last year, when nuclear experiments were enforced, 66 army inspections and army-related events were achieved while raising a confrontational front to the United States. Immediately after the nuclear tests, it spared 16 events in the economic areas of Wonsan Farm and South Hankyung Province Industry Scene while putting forth a confident image under “improvement of civilian lives.”
North Korean advertising media have cast their spotlight as if to show their interest in economic issues while relaying the news of Kim Jong Il’s inspections of Chongjin in North Hamkyung last February, the 4th Taechun power plant, and Jagang Province industry scene.
Further, the North Korean media, through sound arguments via Rodung Shinmum, maintained, “The days when our people can live well are not too far off.” Accordingly, Kim Jong Il’s back-to-back industry inspection walks were portrayed as intentions to renew the impoverished civilian lives in contrast with the past that stressed army inspections.
Advertising “improvement of civilian lives” but people do not believe
However, the grandiose promise of “improving civilian lives” did not show much difference after the economy-related facility visits. Therefore, looking after the army by Kim Jong Il, who does not have a vision or will regarding opening and reforms, may be an inevitable course of action.
Even after entering the spring poverty season last March to April and the busy faming season in May, not having any possibility of resolving the problem of provisions is one of the reasons why civilians are having a difficult time purely accepting Kim Jong Il’s walks related to the public welfare and the national advertisements.
Kim Jong Il’s back-to-back army visits seem to be a gesture to arouse distrust in the wilted popular sentiment by rotating the policy towards the U.S. to a hard-line one. By turning the blame on the U.S. for the BDA asset problem, he seems to be stepping up the solidarity of the army and civilian mind around anti-American sentiment.