Military-First Indiscipline Nothing New

A new report has revealed that the North Korean military has regarded the indiscipline engendered by a lack of loyalty resulting from chronic economic difficulties as a serious issue since at least 1999.

According to ‘Research into Indiscipline in the Chosun People’s Army’, released by the Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU) yesterday, a document distributed to officers in 1999 by the North Korean authorities contained the comment, “Some workers are saying that they will work hard for the dear Comrade Commander in Chief (Kim Jong Il) but their actions are different to their words.”

The latest research was conducted by Lee Kyo Duk of KINU, Professor Jung Kyu Seob of Kwandong University and Lee Ki Dong of The Institute for National Security Strategy using a number of internal North Korean documents dating from the first half of the 2000s.

‘Questioning the legitimacy of the line and policies of the Party suggested by the Supreme Commander’, ‘Not unconditionally executing Party policy’ and ‘Idolization of individual cadres’ are all cited in the KINU document as examples of this declining loyalty and concomitant indiscipline.

In particular, Kim Jong Il is quoted in the documents as saying, “Discipline is disorderly and orders are not being implemented properly.”

Quoting lecture notes relating to one 2002 onsite inspection by Kim Jong Il, it added, “Some officers who weren’t dressed properly were severely rebuked by Kim Jong Il.” The report points out that the various delinquencies and crimes committed by the military are often due to the influence of alcohol.

Analyzing the data, the report’s authors note, “After the institutionalization of the ‘military-first’ policy by the Kim Jong Il regime, the military’s role was reinforced and this caused corruption and deviation in the system.”