This week’s ‘Latest from North Korea’ analyses the July 23 to 29, 2018 Editions of the ‘Rodong Sinmun’, the Workers’ Party of Korea’s official newspaper.
- “Supreme Leader’s Activity”
In the July 24th to 27th editions of the Rodong Shinmun, there were reports that Kim Jong-un had been out on field guidance trips. The reports show that despite the hot summer weather, Kim Jong-un had been out on field guidance trips between Monday 23rd to Thursday 26th July.
This week, Kim Jong-un mainly visited businesses in the Kangwon province and participated in many events on the 26th in preparation for the “Day of Victory in the Great Fatherland Liberation War” on the 27th.
The photos of Kim Jong-un showed him covered with sweat, showing that there are no air conditioners in even the main large factories and enterprises in North Korea.
Due to the poor power situation in North Korea, generally enterprises are blocked from using air conditioners.
In the case of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are only air conditioners installed in the vice ministers’ rooms. However, due to the high level of electricity it uses, the Finance Department in the Ministry often asks officials to to refrain from using the air conditioners.
Generally, Kim Jong-un seems to be satisfied about the businesses in the Kangwon Province.
This is a big contrast to the scolding that the Cabinet, Party and Organization and Guidance Department received after the field guidance trip to North Hamgyong Province last week.
I don’t know if Pak Jong-nam. the Kangwon Provincial Party Committee Chief Secretary is actually good at his job, or is only guiding Kim Jong-un to places where there are visible results.
On the 23rd, Kim Jong-un visited a tree nursery in the Kangwon Province, the KPA Factory No. 525 on the 24th, and the Songdowon General Foodstuff Factory as well as the Wonsan Disabled Soldiers’ Bag Factory on the 25th.
On the 26th, he had a photo session with the participants in the 5th National Conference of War behind the Veterans Martyrs Cemetery of the Chinese People’s Volunteers and the Fatherland Liberation War Martyrs Cemetery.
It is noteworthy to point out that despite the fact that it could have shown off North Korea’s relations with China, the Chinese Ambassador to North Korea and the deputy foreign minister of the Chinese Foreign Ministry who were staying in North Korea at the time did not accompany the visit to the Veterans Martryrs Cemetry of the Chinese People’s Volunteers.
Since the Panmunjom Declaration and the US-North Korean Summit, there have been no reports of Kim Jong-un visiting military units or conducting military training which can be interpreted as North Korea withholding from aggravating the US or South Korea.
- “In DPRK”
At the moment, North Korea is encouraging its people to make new progress in economic construction by September 9, the Day of the Foundation of the Republic. It is said that Orangchon No. 5, the power station that Kim Jong-un recently scolded, has now been completed. It seems that the internal crackdowns and control of the residents is becomingly increasingly strengthened.
The articles calling for the “strengthening of anti-Imperialist education” that have appeared in newspapers everyday since the Panmunjom Declaration, have now been replaced with messages of preparing for the spirit of war in commemoration of the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement.
Although North Korea repatriated the remains of US soldiers to the United States to mark the anniversary of the July 27 Armistice Agreement, as there were no reports of it in the North Korean media, the average citizens are not aware of these events.
On the other hand, North Korea hosted of the Fifth National Conference for War Veterans and propagated to the North Korean that they should dedicate their lives to the Supreme Leader and their country as was done during the Korean War.
There were reports that Kong Xuanyou, China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited North Korea but there was no information on what was discussed with him.
I can imagine that practical issues for the next phase of denuclearization were discussed.
There have been criticisms about Japan’s Abe Administration every day.
- “Inter-Korean Relations”
In regards to reports on South Korea, there continued to be criticisms about conservative powers such as the Liberty Korea Party and Chosun Ilbo as well as detailed reports on the South Korean Defense Security Command’s ‘Coup d’état’ plans.
This was the latest from North Korea.