The ninth of September this year sees an important landmark in the history of the Korean people, namely the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) by the late President Kim Il Sung.
The significance of this anniversary was a key theme of an important joint editorial published by the DPRK’s three main newspapers on the occasion of the New Year. Such a joint editorial, reviewing the lessons of the year just passed and setting fighting tasks for the year to come, has become a tradition in the DPRK since the death in 1994 of Comrade Kim Il Sung, replacing the New Year Address previously delivered by the president.
This year, the editorial noted that, in 2007, the Korean people commemorated the 95th birth anniversary of President Kim Il Sung and the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army, acting as a spur to the people’s efforts to build a “great, prosperous and powerful socialist country”.
Noting that this year will see the 60th National Day, the editorial continued:
“The 60 years of the Republic is a history of gigantic changes in which it has risen to a power independent, self-sufficient and self-reliant in defence, writing a heroic epic of creation and construction under the leadership of the Party and the leaders, and also a sacred course through which the country has demonstrated the superiority and invincibility of socialism of our own style in the crucible of the anti-imperialist struggle.”
It further noted: “In 2012 we will greet the 100th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung. It was his lifetime wish and cause to build a great, prosperous and powerful socialist country on this land, a country in which the national power is strong, everything thrives and the people live envying nothing in the world. It is our Party’s determination and will to raise our economy and our people’s livelihood to a high level by relying on the strong political and military might consolidated in the tempest of the Songun revolution, and thus open wide in 2012 the gate to a great, prosperous and powerful country without fail.”
(Editor’s Note: Songun refers to the policy advanced by Comrade Kim Jong Il, based on the concrete conditions of Korea, of giving priority to military affairs in order to defend the country against imperialist attack. It is often translated as ‘army first’.)
In order to meet this grand objective, the editorial called for a great leap in socialist construction, similar to that of the 1950s period of post-war reconstruction. Noting that “today, the economy is the front of main efforts in the building of a great, prosperous and powerful nation”, it advocated “the principle of making people enjoy substantial benefit while ensuring the greatest possible profitability and the principle of developing external economic relations while putting main stress on tapping all domestic resources and potentials”.
Noting the achievements scored in 2007 in advancing towards the independent and peaceful reunification of the country, especially the second north-south summit held last October, the editorial also noted:
“The source of war should be removed and lasting peace be ensured. Peace is most precious for the Korean nation that has been living in the constant danger of war for more than half a century. All the Koreans should launch a vigorous anti-war, peace campaign to foil the war moves of the hawks at home and abroad. An end should be put to the US policy hostile towards the DPRK and the Armistice Agreement be replaced with a peace pact. The aggressive joint military exercises and arms build-up should be discontinued and the US military bases be abolished in south Korea.”
With an eye to events not only in Korea but throughout the world, the editorial observed: “At present, defending global peace and security and advancing along the road of independence are the irreversible trend of the times. The reality shows the strong-arm policy and arbitrariness of imperialism do not work anywhere.”
This statement is as true of Korea as it is of the Middle East or of Latin America.