Kim Jong Un highlighted the importance of “the people” and “the youth” in his speech on Saturday, perhaps to emphasize his status as a young leader.
The speech, taking place at the parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), mentioned “people” (inmin) 97 times and “youth” (cheongnyeon) 15 times. Former leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il were referenced three times each.
“The history of our party is the path traveled by our great people, its might is their might, its greatness is their greatness, and its victory is the victory they achieved,” Kim said.
He also paid deep respects to the people, offering “warm thanks with a deep bow to all the beloved people.”
The emphasis on “people” was reiterated by the state-run Uriminzokkiri’s editorial on Saturday.
“The WPK is dedicated to safeguarding the people’s destiny from its origins” and “the motherly party doesn’t hold back anything to achieve a happy life for the people,” said an editorial entitled, “The WPK exists for the people and struggles for the people’s interest.”
Professor Kim Keun-sik from Kyungnam University’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies said the process of Kim establishing his own practical ideology is ongoing.
“Kim Jong Un will continuously try to perfect his ideology. He has judged that the country is emerging from crisis, and now is focusing on domestic issues, including improvement of the economy and the people’s lives,” the professor told NK News. Previously, he defined the “pure ideology” and “practical ideology” of North Korean leaders in an interview with NK News in April.
“In the Kim Il Sung era, while its pure ideology was the Marxism-Leninism of the Soviet Union, the Juche idea was propounded as practical ideology for post-war recovery and establishing socialism,” he said at the time.
Previously, when facing crisis, Kim Jong Il proposed the Songun (military-first) ideology as its practical ideology, while putting the Juche ideology on the shelf, he said.
Balazs Szalontai, professor of Korea University’s Department of North Korean studies also said the speech shows the North is not concerned about threats from foreign countries at the moment.
“It is not a particularly hawkish speech. It makes a reference to the ‘Byungin line’ but does not explicitly mention such thorny issues as nuclear weapons, satellites and human rights,” he told NK News. “Byungjin” refers to the idea, introduced by Kim Jong Un in 2013, of simultaneous development of the North Korean economy and its nuclear weapons program.
In his speech, Kim Jong Un included the youth as one of three most important points, along with the people and the military.
“As our party has spared nothing for young people, our country is now greeting a fresh heyday in the youth movement and is demonstrating its might as the one and only great youth power, in which the youth problem has been solved perfectly,” Kim Jong Un said on Saturday.
Kim Keun-sik indicated that Kim Jong Un is highlighting “youth” due to his status as a young leader.
“Kim Jong Un has mentioned love for the ‘future’ and the ‘coming generation’ numerous times,” he said.
A search of KCNA Watch reveals that Kim Jong Un has mentioned love for the “future” and “coming generation” whenever visiting an orphanage, fostering a friendly and gentle image as a young leader.
Featured Image: Korea Central News Agency