About the Author
View more articles by Dagyum Ji
Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
North Korea’s party daily on Monday called on the country to develop its science and technology to fight sanctions imposed by “hostile forces,” dismissing the idea of the DPRK accepting economic incentives in return for abandoning nuclear weapons.
In a special article, the Rodong Sinmun, which serves as the chief organ of the country’s ruling party, said North Korea needs to make “continuous advancement and development in science and technology as well as education” in order to push ahead with the “grand march of self-reliance.”
The newspaper, called on Pyongyang to “trust… the power of science and technology and rely upon is the mental strength of the entire people armed with advanced science and technology” in a Korean-language special article (Ronsol) written by Kim Song Nam.
“It is also very important to give precedence to the development of science and technology in terms of bringing hostile forces’ heinous schemes of sanctions and blockade to naught,” the Rodong said.
“The hostile forces currently completely block our normal trade activities as well as hinder [us] from bringing in raw materials and supplies necessary for people’s livelihood and the normalization of production in various sectors of the people’s economy.”
The North Korean party daily also notably criticized U.S. policy of offering economic incentives and prosperity to Pyongyang in return for the dismantlement of its nuclear program — reiterated against last week by President Donald Trump.
“The hostile forces are nowadays scheming to lead [us] into reform and opening while clamoring for ‘economic compensation’ and ‘aid’ in return for meeting their requirements,” the Rodong said.
“If we transplant the imperialists’ subcontract economy, we will lose our economic independence even if we can flourish temporarily,” it continued. “And it will later destroy our ideas and institutions.”
The phrase “economic compensation” is notable, and Monday’s article appears to be the first time the Rodong has used the term.
There is some precedent, however: the North previously denounced the U.S. for “offering economic compensation and benefit” in return for the abandonment of nuclear weapons in a statement issued by then first vice-minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Kye Gwan in May last year.
The Rodong this week repeatedly emphasized that the development of science and technology and education should be prioritized in order to step up the “grand advance of self-reliance in a fruitful manner in accordance with the party’s plan and intentions.”
North Koreans, the party daily continued, must accelerate the “general advance” towards accomplishing the decisions made at the 4th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) in April.
That meeting saw the North Korean leader urge the country to pursue economic self-reliance in order to “deal a telling blow to hostile forces” seeking to coerce it through sanctions and pressure.
The party daily on Monday emphasized that “self-reliance is by no means a tactical countermeasure to [meet] the demands of the situation and overcome temporary difficulties that lie in the way to advancement.”
Self-reliance is a “strategic” line that the country should “permanently keep up,” the party daily explained, stressing that development in science and technology must be achieved so that the North can “resolve everything it needs based on the country’s resources.”
The country can then enhance economic and technological exchanges with foreign countries, it continued, and “actively make inroads into the world” based on its cutting-edge scientific and technological achievements.
“No matter how violently the hostile forces behave, the construction of our economy, based on advanced science and technology, can never be blocked or delayed,” the party daily said.
In the special article, the Rodong added that the country can overcome the current difficulties and “swiftly revitalize the entire people’s economy” by prioritizing science and technology.
There are “many issues that should be urgently resolved for economic construction, including the solution of energy and food problems and the realization of localizing raw material, materials, and facilities,” the party daily stressed.
The newspaper also claimed that grain production had “significantly increased” thanks to scientific farming methods, including water-saving techniques, as an example of resolving food problems through science and technology.
“Reality shows that we can break through to make a leap forward in economic construction with current economic foundations and potential if we are thoroughly based on science and technology.”
Edited by James Fretwell and Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: KCNA