NK Media Hyping Construction Work

[imText1]The North Korean media is in the midst of a propaganda drive to promote construction in the Mansudae area of Pyongyang, part of the regime’s faltering push to build a ‘Strong and Prosperous State’.

First, on the 21st, Chosun Central News Agency cited an editorial carried by the publication of the North Korean Cabinet, Minju Chosun, entitled ‘Let’s Push Mansudae Area Construction Forward Powerfully!’ in which it asserted that Mansudae construction is “a glorious piece of industry for the realization of Great Leader Comrade Kim Jong Il’s grand plan.”

Two days later, on the 23rd, the publication produced by Chongryon in Japan, Chosun Shinbo described plans for the construction project in detail, while Chosun Central Broadcast, the state radio broadcaster, domestically reported the mobilization of young people to propel the construction forward by night.

Then, just one day later on the 24th during an editorial about state policy to limit difficulties caused by the summer rainy season, Rodong Shinmun, the Chosun Workers’ Party mouthpiece emphasized, “We have had the foresight to secure materials like aggregate and cement, so we must push construction forward constantly across all sites including residential construction in the Mansudae area,.”

Finally, yesterday’s Rodong Shinmun, citing a statement from Kim Jong Il himself, went on to remind the people, “Construction in Pyongyang is not simply an issue of operational economics regarding the formation of roads and construction of homes, it is an important political issue related to the prestige of Socialist Chosun and dignity of the Kim Il Sung Motherland.”

This kind of propaganda push is aimed at ensuring the people are cogent of fact that modern buildings are being constructed by the authorities; an attempt to bring to life ongoing propaganda about the strong and prosperous state, which inside sources suggest is viewed with considerable public cynicism.

According to the Chosun Shinbo piece dated June 23rd, the construction at Mansudae is set to include a complex of 14 new apartment buildings, including North Korea’s tallest at 45 floors, a school, nursery and other public buildings. Elsewhere, there is a plan to pull down older construction in Mansu-dong and replace it with a park, and another to put up a modern cylindrical and square apartment building in the vicinity of Pyongyang Students’ and Children’s Palace.

Meanwhile, all the talk of modernity fits well with efforts to promote the youthful vigor of successor Kim Jong Eun, especially as it surrounds the statue of Kim Il Sung on Mansudae Hill, which is itself said to be undergoing a facelift.

In yesterday’s piece, Rodong Shinmun went on, “According to the Party’s grand capital construction plan, a fire of new Pyongyang creation is blazing violently in the ongoing Mansudae area construction,” adding, “According to this warlike strategy, in a short time, less than a month after it began, the groups taking part in the construction had achieved innovative results, digging the vast foundations of the new homes and laying the concrete.”

However, rumor has it that the reality does not meet the heights of this official propaganda, with the authorities having only managed to construct some 500 new residences in the period to the end of 2010.