North Koreans at country-wide mass rallies on Tuesday and Wednesday pledged their support for Pyongyang’s new push to “break through the barriers,” the country’s state media reported Thursday.
Workers and university students attended rallies in Kangwon, North Phyongan, South Hamgyong, and Ryanggang provinces, according to party daily the Rodong Sinmun, where they were said to have committed to goals set by the country’s leadership at a key party plenum last month.
That plenum saw North Korean leader Kim Jong Un call for North Koreans to work harder to achieve economic self-sufficiency, warning them “not to wait for the situation to turn better.”
In rallies which follow a similar state-run event in Pyongyang over the weekend, participants held up banners featuring calls for North Koreans to “break through head-on all barriers to our advance” — a key new slogan in the wake of the recent plenum.
While it is usual for Pyongyang and regions in North Korea to hold large-scale rallies in the first month of the year to pledge support for the leader’s annual New Year’s Address, this year’s gatherings appear aimed at emphasizing messages from the recent plenary meeting. Attendance was likely mandatory.
Beyond pledging support for government policies, the rallies also reviewed the economic achievements of the previous year, emphasizing self-reliance, “quality over quantity,” finding scientific methods for “normalizing” production in major industrial sectors, increasing power production, and more.
Notably, the officials, managers, and professors at the South Hamgyong rally were reported to have reflected on what went wrong the previous year.
“Some of the units” in the province, the Rodong Sinmun said, had been accused of “hindering the strengthening of the independent economic foundations” of the country, reportedly failing to come up with creative methods to increase self-reliant production.
“Tendencies also appeared [in some units] not sticking to the essence of socialist commerce,” the party daily said.
Officials in Kangwon province also reviewed the previous year’s achievements, such as the construction of Maebongsan Spring Water Factory, while pledging to push forward for success on the “economy frontline.”
They also pledged to “break through the barrier” in order to complete construction at several local power plants, the Wonsan Green House farm, and the Wonsan Basic Foodstuff Factory.
North Phyongan provincial officials also reiterating claims that the country had achieved an “unprecedented record crop” in 2019 — claims that have raised eyebrows among experts.
Residents of that province also lauded other 2019 successes, while emphasizing their goal of increasing quality and production in the light industry sector, including at the well-known Sinuiju Cosmetics Factory.
Edited by Oliver Hotham