What Does Kim Jong Il’s Confession Imply?

Propaganda tells us that Kim Il Sung’s most fervent wish was for the people of North Korea to “eat rice with meat soup, wear silk clothes and live in a tiled roof house.” However, Kim Jong Il recently made a shock admission that this has not been achieved, and that the North Korean people still lack a great many things.

Rodong Shinmun, the publication of the Chosun Workers’ Party, cited Kim in an article released on Saturday. He is quoted as saying, “Although the Suryeong (Kim Il Sung) told us that we have to let the people eat rice with meat soup, wear silk clothes and live in a tiled roof house, we have not accomplished his will.”

“We have already reached the status of a strong country in the military field, let alone politics and ideology, but there are still quite a number of things lacking in people’s lives. I am trying to implement the will (of Kim Il Sung) by solving these problems.”

To speak so clearly about the situation, experts suggest Kim Jong Il must have judged that people’s complaints about his rule have grown almost uncontrollable.

In this way, Kim Jong Il presumably hopes to soothe worsening public sentiment by advertising his desire to improve people’s lives from now on. In contrast, Kim previously, in essence, told the people to just endure economic difficulties in order to become a strong country in the ideological, military and political arenas.

It additionally seems that Kim is trying to revert back to North Korea’s brand of pseudo-socialism by putting the words of Kim Il Sung to the forefront.

The Rodong Shinmun article emphasized that Kim Jong Il’s onsite inspections at economic entities in Wonsan, Daean and Heungnam at the beginning of the new year were also part of Kim’s tireless efforts to find the solution to people’s daily problems.

It added, “Living in a train on a rigorous schedule is now a habit for the General. Until he has solved the people’s living problems he cannot sleep deeply at home. Every road the General (Kim Jong Il) takes is paved with his sincere words, ‘Let’s carry out the Suryeong’s will by solving the people’s problems with one unified heart.”

A researcher with the Korea Institute for National Unification Choi Jin Wook told the Daily NK, “His comment, ‘we have not accomplished his will,’ indicates Kim’s intention to bind the people with propaganda, and additionally that a policy switch is inevitable. It implies a lot at a time when North Korea needs international economic aid and there are diverse rumors surrounding the North, such as that Kim will visit Beijing, an inter-Korean Summit will happen and nuclear negotiations with the U.S. are impending.”

Choi concluded, “Unlike the past, now it says ‘not accomplished.’ It is a big confession. It may be a sign of change in foreign trade.”