North Korea’s military has taken further steps to establish discipline within the ranks and has even warned that military commanders will be “jointly responsible” for infractions committed by soldiers under their command, Daily NK has learned. 

On June 11, Daily NK learned from a source inside the country that a North Korean communist party committee focused on military affairs adopted a “resolution” that was then sent to the political offices of each branch of the military on June 1.

The resolution appears to have its origins in a comment made by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at an expanded meeting of the Central Military Committee on May 23. During that event, he spoke about resolving a “spate of deviance within military and political activities.” 

HARSH WORDS

The committee’s resolution stressed that the “key” to making the military “invincible” is “strengthening discipline in military affairs.” The resolution went on to state that “no matter how well we may be prepared to carry out [military] operations, units with poor discipline are no better than a herd of sheep without a shepherd and will lose every battle in a war.”  

The committee also noted that the military follows the orders of the “Supreme Leader” and that there is a need to “cultivate exemplary military units” by strengthening internal discipline. 

“All commanders and soldiers should keep in mind the noble ideology and intentions of the party in designating June the ‘month for establishing military discipline,’ and take a keen interest to see that this is done without even the slightest of errors,” the committee’s resolution further stated. 

The resolution also emphasized that military leaders take various measures against incidents or accidents of any description that cause disorder in the ranks, including rule-breaking, drinking, beatings, desertion and accidental shootings.

“The leadership hammered home the point that anyone involved in misbehavior would be held legally responsible, including being sent to a forced labor camp,” the source added. “The leadership has also emphasized that unit commanders and even the military’s political officers will be held jointly responsible [for incidents that occur under their command].” 

The leadership appears intent at creating an atmosphere of fear among soldiers and their commanders toward committing infractions.

“The military is working hard to convey orders to subordinates through political education sessions and during time set aside during the mornings for readings [focused on party-related policies and contemporary issues],” the source explained. 

“The goal appears to be to establish complete discipline within the military prior to the beginning of the year’s second military training period [summer military training], which is set to start in July [and usually lasts until Oct. 20],” he added. 

JUNE: A KEY MONTH FOR THE MILITARY

Kim Jong Un reportedly designated June as the country’s “month for establishing military discipline.” 

“The Supreme Leader issued an initiative called the ‘June 12 Measure to Establish Military Discipline’ after he noticed soldiers wearing their uniforms in a disorderly manner in the streets while inspecting military units stationed in North Hwanghae Province on June 12,” the source told Daily NK. 

Kim has long been deemed an expert in military affairs, ever since he was referred to as the “Young General” in 2007.

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Jeong Tae Joo is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. He focuses on North Korean military matters. Please direct any questions about his articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.