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View more articles by Dagyum Ji
Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday called for the DPRK to pursue self-reliance in the economy to “deal a telling blow to hostile forces” seeking to coerce it through sanctions and pressure.
In coverage of yesterday’s Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), DPRK state-run media reported on Thursday that Kim had “made a scientific analysis of the changed international landscape and the peculiarities of the present situation.”
The meeting came a day before Thursday’s First Session of the 14th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) and follows an enlarged meeting of the ruling party’s politburo on Tuesday.
Talks focused on three main topics, state media reported: economic affairs and ensuring “self-reliance,” plans for the “formation of state leadership bodies” to be presented at tomorrow’s SPA session, and “organizational” issues.
The North Korean leader was reported to have “clarified the main tenor of the recent DPRK-U.S. summit talks and the Party’s stand towards it.”
DPRK vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui in March said the North Korea leader would “soon make a decision” regarding the country’s position in the aftermath of February’s no-deal summit with the U.S. in Hanoi.
Since then, Pyongyang had until Wednesday remained largely silent on the issue.
During the discussion, the North Korean leader on Wednesday urged the Party to work to demonstrate that sanctions would not bring Pyongyang into submission by independently developing the national economy.
The country should “vigorously advance socialist construction,” he said, to “deal a telling blow to the hostile forces who go with bloodshot eyes miscalculating that sanctions can bring the DPRK to its knees.”
Economic development should be pushed forward based on the “self-supporting national economy suited to the specific conditions” of the country, he added.
May 2016’s Seventh Congress of the WPK saw the DPRK leader presented with an analysis on the “successes and faults” found in the process of socialist construction, along with “immediate objectives and tasks to be carried out without fail in further demonstrating the might of the self-supporting economy.”
Kim on Wednesday was reported to have said he believed the recent “[Party] line was right over and over again” when looking at the “remarkable success achieved in socialist construction.”
STRESSING THE ROLE OF THE PARTY
The North Korean leader also on Wednesday ordered that the role of the Party organizations be “decisively enhanced in the struggle to vigorously speed up socialist construction under the uplifted banner of self-reliance.”
“He pointed out that the Party organizations should make officials play the role of standard-bearer in the great advance of self-reliance with a high-level of responsibility and versatile abilities,” KCNA and the Rodong reported in a Korean-language dispatch.
Kim also urged WPK organizations to push forward with “five-point education and self-reliance education” as “the major tasks of their political and ideological work,” the outlets reported.
“Five-point education” refers to an ideological educational program in North Korea under Kim Jong Un, focusing on, among other things, patriotism, morality, and anti-imperialism, according to a South Korean unification ministry database.
Through ideological education, Kim said, officials and Party members could turn workers into “faithful fighters accustomed to the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance to the bone.”
Citizens, he continued, should pursue the “grand advance of creating a new Mallima speed with the precise perception on the development way of DPRK-style socialism.”
Kim then proposed the “formation of the state leadership bodies” — including the State Affairs Commission, the Presidium of the SPA, and the Cabinet — to be submitted to Thursday’s First Session of the 14th SPA.
The plenary meeting unanimously approved the submission, state media reported, without elaborating on the details of the decision.
Organizational affairs were also discussed, with a number of prominent officials receiving promotions.
Among these was North Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui, who was elected a member of the WPK Central Committee.
Last month also saw Choe elected as a deputy to the 14th SPA for the first time.
Premier Pak Pong Ju was also elected as a vice-chairman of the WPK Central Committee, media reported Wednesday, without providing further information.
Pak also serves as a member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee and vice-chairman of the State Affairs Commission, among various other roles.
Ri Man Gon, who previously served as first vice director of the ruling Party’s Organization and Guidance Department (OGD), was promoted to director at an unnamed Party Central Committee department and a vice-chairman at the Central Committee.
He was also elected to the WPK Central Committee’s Political Bureau and the party’s Central Military Commission.
Jo Yong Won — who previously served as a vice director at the Organization and Guidance Department — was elected an alternate member of the politburo and appointed a first vice department director at the Party Central Committee.
Head of the Samjiyon Orchestra Hyon Song Wol was also promoted from alternate member to member of the Party Central Committee.
But although DPRK media reported that Wednesday’s meeting had recalled and elected members of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of Central Committee and members and alternate members of the Political Bureau, the list of dismissed officials was not provided.
The Presidium of the Political Bureau consists of only four officials: Kim Jong Un, Kim Yong Nam, Choe Ryong Hae, and Pak Pong Ju.
Delivering his concluding remarks, Kim Jong Un said the “building of an economic power” should be the country’s “main political task.”
Related departments of the Party Central Committee must “actively support the work of the Cabinet” so that it can plan and implement the decisions made at the plenary meeting, Kim was quoted as having said in Korean-language dispatches from the Rodong and the KCNA.
In addition to the cooperation with the Cabinet, the DPRK leader also proposed tasks for the Party organizations and officials to “thoroughly establish the socialist lifestyle” as a means to “preserve the true nature of socialism.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)