North Korea emphasizes friendship with China prior to summit with U.S.

North Korean lecture materials from January 2019 emphasizing the country's relationship with China.
North Korean lecture materials from January 2019 emphasizing the country’s relationship with China. Image: Daily NK

The North Korean authorities have launched special propaganda efforts boasting greatly-improved Sino-DPRK relations thanks to the Sino-North Korean summit held in January. The materials highlight Kim Jong Un’s diplomatic successes in improving international perceptions of the regime and increasing support.

In North Korean propaganda material recently obtained by Daily NK, 14 of the 17 paragraphs in the document are devoted to praising Kim’s diplomatic achievements. The document further states that the Sino-DPRK summit was an historical event with great significance for bilateral relations and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

“[Chinese President Xi Jinping] gave high praise to the great and exacting successes made by the party’s (Workers’ Party of Korea) new strategic policy,” the document further states.

The statement alludes to China having sent positive messages about North Korea’s focus on economic development after completing nuclear weapons programs to protect its homeland, emphasizing the justification for North Korea to shift to economic development last year.

Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping shake hands during Kim Jong Un's fourth visit to China in January 2019
Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping shake hands during Kim Jong Un’s fourth visit to China in January 2019. Image: KCNA

“The Chinese side, just like last time, promised to take on an active and productive role to ensure stability on the Korean Peninsula as a trustworthy rearguard, comrade and friend of Chosun (North Korea),” the materials state.

This may also be seen as a thinly-veiled hint that the regime may turn to China to develop the economy if the US-DPRK summit talks this week do not progress well. The North Korean authorities need to achieve successes in their Economic Development Five Year Strategy and likely see China as “insurance” against obstacles in US-DPRK talks.

The remaining three paragraphs of the materials not devoted to Kim’s diplomatic successes focus on loyalty toward the leader, encouraging people to “ideologically arm” themselves, and call for solidarity with the state.

“The Marshal (Kim Jong Un)’s achievements in improving Sino-DPRK relations need to be turned into even better results,” the materials declare. “We must fall into line with the patriotic steps led by the Marshal.”

“We must continue to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps with the sword of prosperity in hand because this is what has given us strength thus far,” the materials add. “We must think of our places of work as the very frontline of the war to protect socialism and improve our production even more!”  

The provincial, municipal and county party committees and party cells, seen as the ‘frontline’ organizations of the party, are holding regular ideological training sessions for officials and ordinary citizens alike. Party-affiliated organizations like the Korean Workers’ Alliance, Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League, Agricultural Workers’ Alliance, and Socialist Women’s Union of Korea are responsible for the training of their members.  

Given that the propaganda materials are aimed at the entire North Korean population, it appears that the entire party apparatus has been mobilized for the efforts.

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