Major organizational changes to be announced at Party Congress

Kim Jong Un is set to be designated General
Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and President during the 7th Party
Congress scheduled for May. This platform could also be used to open a new era
of Party-centered state management, as was the case during Kim Il Sung’s rule,
and end his father Kim Jong Il’s military first songun policy, Daily NK has

“There has been talk among high-level cadres that state organization and management will see a lot of change through
the Party Congress,” a source close to North Korean affairs reported on Sunday,
according to South Korean lawmaker Ha Tae Kyung. “Accordingly, the Marshal will
be elevated to Party General Secretary and President.”

This was confirmed by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service as well
as two Daily NK sources residing in Pyongyang.

These reforms will not be to imitate past
practices (of Kim Il Sung or Kim Jong Il) but rather bring about changes within the
Party and administrative bodies that are unique to Kim Jong Un. This will come
with massive propaganda campaigns that declare his monolithic leadership, the
source said.

Following the death of the North’s founder
Kim Il Sung, former leader Kim Jong Il in September 1998, during the 10th
Supreme People’s Assembly, revised the constitution and abolished the
presidency, establishing Kim Il Sung as the ‘Eternal President’ and instead
creating the National Defense Commission (NDC) of which he appointed himself as

In similar fashion to his father, Kim Jong
Un in April 2012, the year after Kim Jong Il died, designated his father as the
‘Eternal Chairman of the National Defense Commission’ at the 12th Supreme
People’s Assembly, and appointed himself as First Chairman on the NDC. He also
left the General Secretary of the Workers’ Party vacant and instead assumed his
post as First Secretary.

“Kim Jong Un seems to have decided that if
he establishes Kim Il Sung as the ‘Eternal General Secretary’ and appoints
himself as ‘General Secretary’ it will not be a problem,” the source reported.
“It’s likely that he will get rid of the National Defense Commission and
instead strengthen the Party’s Central Commission and Central Military

With this, Kim Jong Un is likely putting
forward his determination to center the leadership on the Central Party like
his grandfather did instead of prioritizing the military. The changes also suggest that the young leader seeks to promote the country as a “normal state” to China and the rest of the
international community.

In addition, Kim Jong Un’s birthday
(January 8) will officially be designated as a ‘great national holiday’
starting 2017.

“Considering the year 2017 falls on a
five-year anniversary cycle of both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il’s birthday
(105th and 75th, respectively), there’s the possibility that Kim Jong Un’s
birthday will be announced as 1982 in order to make 2017 his 35th and put it
all in sync,” the source asserted. “The designation of this holiday could also
be promoted as an opportunity of new hope and expectation for the public.”

In terms of the possibility of declaring
new economic reforms, the source explained he would announce reform measures
that stay within the overall framework of socialism. Taking an extra step
forward from the new economic management system’s ‘June 28 Measures,’ which pertained to agricultural policies, the pending package of reforms will include
provisions authorizing individuals to directly manage factories. In practice, this would enable the state to collect more taxes from the donju [newly affluent middle class] by providing them with more freedom to make money.

Aspects of these changes are already underway in select locales. “In some regions, municipal People’s
Committee business offices have been granting donju increased license to earn money,” he said. “Provided that people can offer up the initial 6,000 RMB fee and build their own factories with basic infrastructure such as sanitation facilities they are relatively uninhibited in their business operations.”