The Party Center Gaining More Ground

[imText1]An analysis of North Korean media reports by South Korean NGO Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights (NKNet) suggests that the likelihood of Kim Jong Eun emerging to take the euphemistic title of the successor, “the Party Center,” and membership of the Central Committee of the Chosun Workers’ Party at the Party Delegates’ Conference in September is “exceedingly high.”

It also adds weight to the idea that Kim Jong Il is in the process of handing some of the power which has concentrated in the military during the Military-first Politics era back to the Party.

Releasing its findings in the latest issue of NK Vision, NKNet analyzed copies of the eponymous Chosun People’s Army publication and the Chosun Workers’ Party organ, Rodong Shinmun.

Rodong Shinmun, it explained, employed the phrase “the Party Center” in its June 30th edition for the first time in 16 years, while Chosun People’s Army employed it in a particularly prominent manner on May 15th.

In that edition of the publication, a three verse song entitled “Let’s defend the Party Center with our lives!” was featured alongside a full-page image of the marching military. This song, which conveys a sense of the absolute need to preserve Kim Jong Il’s safety at any cost, spread throughout society and the military during the 1980s after Kim Jong Il was publicly announced as the official successor to Kim Il Sung at the Workers’ Party Congress of October, 1980.

In the same issue, Chosun People’s Army reminded readers what Kim Jong Il had himself emphasized, “The People’s Army should continue to hold on to the slogan, ‘Defend the Party Center with our lives,’ as we did in the past.”

It should be noted that before Kim Jong Il emerged as the official successor to his father, he was referred to as “the Party Center” in publications and official documents.

Kim was appointed to the Central Committee of the Party on February 13, 1974, and thereafter seized authority over appointments and inspections as a member of the Politic Committee, which later became the Politburo, Organizing Secretary, and Director of the Guidance Department and Propaganda and Agitation Department.

On the very next day, February 14, 1974, Rodong Shinmun started calling Kim Jong Il the “Party Center,” noting, “Honoring the call of the Great Su-ryeong and the claim of the Party Center…”

After that, Kim Jong Il began to be referred to overtly as the Party Center by officials, the media and internal documents.

Elsewhere, in its June 13th publication, Chosun People’s Army also clearly emphasized the position that “the Workers’ Party leads the military” in an article, “The leadership of the Party is the life of the People’s Army,” the NK Vision report added.

“We should bear in mind that we can never think of the development, reinforcement and existence of the People’s Army departing from the leadership of the Party, and the People’s Army will achieve victory thanks to the leadership of the Party,” the article said.