GoodFriends: Research Institute For North Korean Society

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North Korea Today No. 364 (Priority Release) September 2010

[“Good Friends” aims to help the North Korean people from a humanistic point of view and publishes “North Korea Today” describing the way the North Korean people live as accurately as possible. We at Good Friends also hope to be a bridge between the North Korean people and the world.]
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The 3rd Party Representatives Meeting Convenes on September 4th
The 3rd Party Representatives Meeting to Discuss Measures to Improve People’s Lives
Officials and People Give a Cold Shoulder despite the New Prospect
Kim Jong-il's Visit to China was “to Secure Urgent Food Aid”
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The 3rd Party Representatives Meeting Convenes on September 4th
It is reported that the 3rd Party Representative Meeting of North Korea will convene on September 4th. Since last August, elections have been going on at the city, country and provincial levels to elect representatives to participate in the Meeting of the Party Representatives. It is speculated that three major agenda items will be discussed in the meeting. First, elections for Party Central Command Units, including the nomination of Kim Jong-un as Kim Jong-il’s successor. Second, setting the direction of the Party line policy. Third, solutions to improve people’s livelihoods through economic development. The meeting will discuss Kim Jong-un’s succession as core agenda item to lead the whole society to revere the new successor. The logic is that it has to be Kim Jong-un who will succeed the revolutionary achievements of Kim Jong Il and complete them because he is descendent of Kim Il-sung, the Great Leader, and Kim Jong-il, the Dear leader. The information gathered from our sources suggests that it is somewhat widely known among the party members, government officials, and ordinary people that Kim Jong-un will be the successor, but it is not a completely established fact yet. It is expected that the Meeting of the Party Representatives will promote Kim Jong-un as the successor, draw consensus from high ranking officials, and then organize a succession ceremony to officially announce the next leader. It is also said that preparations are being made for the new successor to oversee every aspect of government work from October 10th celebration of the 65th anniversary of Korean Workers’ Party.

However, different opinions also exist. A high ranking official of the Central Party argued that the nomination of the successor still needs more time, saying, “In the covenants of the Korean Workers’ Party, there is an article stating we shall succeed the revolutionary tradition, but no article supporting a succession by lineage. Who among the high ranking officials would accept the new leader if they select Kim Jong-un, who has no experience whatsoever, only because he is Kim’s son? Even if they try to promote him as the successor, he has to be officially promoted as a committee member of the Meeting of the Party Representatives. This will entail a very complicated procedure. Discussions on who this person is, who his mother is, and this sort of issues will be inevitable. It would not be easy for Kim Jong-il to nominate Kim Jong-un as his successor. We still have to wait and see.”
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• What is Korean Workers' Party Meeting?
The Party's highest authority as specified in the clause 21 of Chapter 3 in the Korean Workers' Party Covenant. Regular meetings are convened once every 5 years by the Central Committee. The meeting dates and schedule are required to be announced 3 months ahead of time before the members to convene. Key functions: 1) Review of the Party Central Committee and the Party Central Inspection Committee business, 2) Adoption, modification, supplementation of the Party’s general principles and Covenant, 3) Decision making on Party’s doctrine, policy and tactics, 4) Electing Party Central Committee and Party Central Inspection Committee members.

• What is Party Representative Meeting?
It is a meeting convened by the Party Central Committee to deal with urgent matters that occur in between two party meetings. Specifically, "the Party Central Committee reviews and makes policy decisions on the Party line and pressing issues on strategy and tactics, and removes those party central committee members, candidate members, and semi-candidate member who failed to perform the duties of the Party Central Committee and hold elections for vacancy."

• What is Party Representative Committee?
Main functions: 1) Reviews province, city, county, district party committee and Inspection Committee's business, 2) Holds elections for province, city, county, district party committee and Inspection Committee, 3) Elects representatives for higher level party or representatives to be sent to party representative meeting. In other words, municipal, county (district) party elects representatives who will participate in the Provincial Party representative meeting and the Provincial Party representative committee elects those who will be sent to the Party Convention (Party Representative Committee).
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The 3rd Party Representatives Meeting to Discuss Measures to Improve People’s Lives
It is reported that one of the main issues that will be discussed at the third Party Representatives Meeting is to come up with measures to improve people’s lives. First of all, it appears that participating officials as party representatives will pledge themselves “to make food problems as their fundamental task and have civil consciousness on the matter, and accomplish in the vanguard and lead the labor public,” and “to make a huge innovation in the agricultural revolution and increase grain production.” That is, they will confirm their resolution to solve ‘food problem’ by bring about an agricultural revolution successfully, in order to enhance the standard of living and build the Strong and Prosperous Nation. In addition, it is known that they will also discuss ways to provide products manufactured in Kaesong Industrial Complex for domestic use to normalize people’s daily consumer goods supply. It also appears that the representatives will make a resolution to support the successor who will inherit Kim Jung-il’s ideas to build an ideologically and economically strong nation. Besides, the successor elected by the representatives is said to publicize the achievement of introducing CNC automation to the national industry and make a speech on improving people’s lives at the anniversary celebration of the Korean Worker’s Party on October 10th. This aims to stabilize public sentiment and raise social eagerness for the Strong and Prosperous Nation.

Officials and People Give a Cold Shoulder despite the New Prospect
Some within the Central Party suggest that the election of a new successor at the Party Representatives Meeting aims to reform a series of recent maladministration cases in economic measures at once. After the death of Kim Il-sung in 1994, the Kim Jung-il regime has claimed to accomplish the Strong and Prosperous Nation during his reins. In reality, the food and economic crisis has aggravated for more than ten years. It also has emphasized guarding of the Dear Leader with a do-or-die spirit more than ever, but on the contrary, the ideological consciousness of the people has been changed in the society at large. The government kept saying they would build the Strong and Prosperous Nation, but the people, who have suffered exacerbating food crisis year by year, now do not regard the Party’s words reliable any more. Some suggests that designating a successor will transform this atmosphere all at once. A new face, the successor will bring about change in the public sentiment and make people expect, “a stable life will be realized and the country will prosper.”

Several opinions are circulating about the Party Representatives Meeting, but even officials are giving a cold shoulder. “Everything sounds great, but we have no conviction at all about how it will be accomplished.” Among primary party secretaries and city and provincial party officials, more experienced ones express skepticism. The dominant view is that the more assurance the party proposes, the less likely the results have turned out to be the case. Lay people are also saying, “(the party) has put people into a difficult situation ever since the establishment of Korean Worker’s Party, and starving households are increasing to a larger degree compared to the Arduous March. I cannot trust their promise to bring us to a better life.” Many officials and residents give a pessimistic prospect stating, “People’s lives will not improve but rather worsen.”

Kim Jong-il's Visit to China was “to Secure Urgent Food Aid”
On August 26, Kim Jong-il's surprise visit to China drew the attention of international community. The fact that his unexpected visit to China occurred while the former US president Jimmy Carter was visiting North Korea to secure the release of Aijalon Gomes (age 30) elicited flurries of speculations about his move. A source of information within the Central Party said the purpose of this visit was to secure economic cooperation and humanitarian aid. The source identified the reason as the level of food crisis which became heightened more than ever before due to the flooding which lasted for more than two months on top of this year's already gravely difficult food situation. It was reported that the Central Party and the Cabinet unanimously determined that the only way to solve the problem is to request an urgent economic aid from China and the highest level initiative is required in order to secure the aid in the shortest period as food aid is urgently needed. Since the successor has not been formally designated Kim Jong-il was the only one who could carry out the task. The information source claimed that the main reason for Kim Jong-il's visit after his recent visit to China in May was for economic cooperation, but the real reason for his visit indicates the seriousness of domestic food crisis.


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