The DPRK has signalled an optimistic start to 2013, with a pledge to build the country into an “economic giant”, while persisting in the struggles for national reunification and against imperialism.
Reviving a practice made famous by the late President Kim Il Sung, the DPRK’s top leader, Comrade Kim Jong Un, personally delivered a new year address summing up the past year and outlining the fighting tasks of the Korean people.
Kim Jong Un praised the country’s scientists and technicians for successfully launching the Kwangmyongsong 3-2 satellite (see Lalkar, January 2013), saying it demonstrated “the high level of space science and technology and overall national power of juche Korea. That we successfully manufactured and launched the … satellite by entirely relying on our own efforts, technology and wisdom was an event of national jubilation … which inspired all the people … and showed that Korea does what it is determined to do.”
On overall socialist construction, he said: “Although the situation was acute and complicated and severe natural calamities hit the country in succession last year, our army and people made great strides in their efforts to build a thriving socialist country and improve the people’s living standards by displaying an indomitable will and waging an unyielding struggle.”
As well as a number of specific construction projects, he also singled out the introduction of universal 12-year compulsory education, as well as the successes scored by the country’s sportsmen and women in international contests, which included the London Olympics.
Noting that 2013 will see the DPRK’s 65th founding anniversary, and also the 60th anniversary of the victory in the war against the US aggressors, Comrade Kim made clear that the main focus of the country’s work needed to be placed on economic construction, stating: “The building of an economic giant is the most important task that comes to the fore in the present stage of building a thriving socialist country …
“In the same manner as we demonstrated the dignity and might of … Korea through the manufacture and launch of the … satellite, the entire party, the whole country and all the people should wage an all-out struggle this year to effect a turnaround in building an economic giant and improving the people’s standard of living. ‘Let us bring about a radical turn in the building of an economic giant with the same spirit and mettle as were displayed in conquering space!’ – this is the fighting slogan our party and people should uphold this year.”
In this vein, he called for “a vigorous general offensive to boost production”, saying that “all economic undertakings for this year should be geared to effecting a radical increase in production and stabilising and improving the people’s living standards by solidifying and making effective use of the already-built foundations of the independent national economy”, with preferential treatment to be given to coal mining, electric power generation, metallurgical industries and rail transportation.
The purpose of focusing on economic construction is not simply for its own sake, but to improve people’s lives: “The success in economic construction should be manifested in the people’s standard of living. We should direct great efforts to bolstering up the sectors and units that have a direct bearing on the people’s livelihoods and increasing production there, so as to give them more benefits in their lives. Agriculture and light industry remain the major fronts for economic construction …”
Comrade Kim Jong Un also stressed that economic construction must adhere to socialist principles, calling for all units to engage in a “socialist emulation drive to reenergise production and fulfil their quotas as fixed in the national economic plan … We should hold fast to the socialist economic system … and steadily improve and perfect the methods of economic management on the principle of encouraging the working masses to fulfil their responsibility and role befitting the masters of production.”
Calling for science and technology to be closely combined with production in order to boost the latter, he explained: “The industrial revolution in the new century is, in essence, a scientific and technological revolution, and breaking through the cutting edge is a shortcut to the building of an economic giant. Like the satellite scientists who conquered outer space, we should wage a dynamic campaign to push back the frontiers … so as to develop the country’s science and technology to world standards as soon as possible.”
Faced as it is with an imperialist blockade and the constant threat of aggression, the DPRK cannot ignore military preparedness. Comrade Kim therefore called for “continued stress on increasing our military might”, so as to “reliably safeguard the security and sovereignty of the country and render services towards assuring regional stability and global peace”, adding that “the reunification of the country is the greatest national task that brooks no further delay”.
In order to expedite national reunification, he said that it was important to end the state of confrontation between north and south: “The history of inter-Korean relations shows that confrontation between fellow countrymen leads to nothing but war. Anti-reunification forces in south Korea should abandon their hostile policy against their fellow countrymen, instead taking the road of national reconciliation, unity and reunification … The entire nation should vehemently reject any moves for domination, intervention, aggression and war by outside forces, and never tolerate any acts hindering the country’s reunification.”
Kim Jong Un also stressed that “respecting and thoroughly implementing the north-south joint declarations is a basic prerequisite to promoting inter-Korean relations and hastening the country’s reunification”.
Finally, Comrade Kim addressed the world situation, stating: “In the present international arena, the moves of the imperialists to interfere in the internal affairs of other sovereign states and their acts of military aggression pose a serious threat to peace and security of mankind. The Asia-Pacific region, the Korean peninsula in particular, has become the hottest spot in the world in which constant tension persists.
“The aspiration and desire of mankind to lead an independent life free from all sorts of domination and subordination is growing stronger, and no force can check the trend of history towards independence and justice … By holding fast to the ideals of independence, peace and friendship, we will, in the future, too, strive to develop relations of friendship and cooperation with the countries that are friendly to our country out of their respect for its sovereignty, and safeguard regional peace and stability and make the whole world independent.”