Strengthening the party, further building up the national economy and improving the people’s living standards, continuing to strive for national reunification and resisting the danger of imperialist war were among the main themes of the new year address for 2016 delivered by Comrade Kim Jong Un, leader of the socialist Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Noting that last year, the people of the DPRK had celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) as a “proud and significant revolutionary event”, Comrade Kim stated:
“The moving scenes unfolded on the October celebration square shook the world with a power greater than that of the explosion of an atomic bomb or of the launching of an earth satellite, and clearly showed that nothing can check the dynamic advance of our party, service personnel and people, who are fighting with single-hearted unity and arms as their ever-victorious weapons.” (70th anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea – militancy, unity and internationalism in Pyongyang, Lalkar, November 2015)
This year will be a significant one in north Korea as the WPK will hold its seventh congress – its first since 1980. Calling for the working people to mark the congress with new economic achievements, Kim Jong Un said: “We should concentrate all our efforts on building an economic giant to bring about a fresh turn in developing the country’s economy and improving the people’s standard of living.
“In order to achieve breakthroughs for a turning point in building an economic giant, the electric power, coal mining and metallurgical industries and the rail transport sector should advance dynamically in the vanguard of the general offensive.”
Among many other specific economic tasks, he called for the comprehensive mechanisation of the rural economy to be speeded up and to “increase the number of world-famous products and commodities with a competitive edge”.
In terms of strengthening the ranks of the party, the Korean leader called on the WPK to “launch an intensive struggle among officials against all practices of abuse of power, bureaucratism and corruption that gnaw at and undermine our single-hearted unity”.
Turning to the question of national reunification, Comrade Kim Jon Un described it as “the most pressing and vital task facing the nation”, and continued: “Last year, greeting the 70th anniversary of national liberation, we appealed to all the compatriots to pool their efforts to open up a broad avenue to independent reunification, and strove for its realisation.
“However, the anti-reunification forces that are not desirous of national reunification and improved inter-Korean relations ran amuck to realise their schemes for a war – and even created a touch-and-go situation short of crossfire, causing grave apprehension at home and abroad. The south Korean authorities publicly sought to realise their goal of ‘regime change’ in our country and unilateral ‘unification of systems’ against the trend of inter-Korean dialogue and détente, and fanned distrust and confrontation between the north and the south.
“This year, we should hold up the slogan ‘Let us frustrate the challenges by the anti-reunification forces within and without and usher in a new era of independent reunification!’ and press on with the national reunification movement more vigorously.
“We should reject foreign intervention and resolve the issues of inter-Korean relations and national reunification independently, in keeping with the aspirations and demands of the nation.
“It is none other than the outside forces that divided our nation, and it is also none other than the United States and its followers that obstruct the reunification of our country. Notwithstanding this, the south Korean authorities are clinging to a smear campaign against the fellow countrymen in collusion with the outside forces, while touring foreign countries to ask for the ‘solution’ of the internal issue of our nation, the issue of its reunification.
“This is a betrayal of the country and nation that leaves the destiny of the nation at the mercy of the outside forces and sells out its interests.
“The issues of inter-Korean relations and national reunification should, to all intents and purposes, be resolved by the efforts of our nation, in conformity with its independent will and demands, true to the principle of ‘By our nation itself’. No one will or can bring our nation reunification.
“The whole nation should struggle resolutely against the sycophantic and treacherous manoeuvres of the anti-reunification forces to cooperate with outside forces. The south Korean authorities should discontinue such humiliating acts as going on a tour of foreign countries touting for ‘cooperation’ in resolving the internal issues of the nation.”
Comrade Kim Jong Un further linked the realisation of national reunification to the tasks of preventing war and safeguarding peace and security on the Korean peninsula, stating: “Today, the peninsula has become the hottest spot in the world and a hotbed of nuclear war, owing to the US’s aggressive strategy for the domination of Asia and its reckless moves for a war against the DPRK.
“The US and south Korean war maniacs are conducting large-scale military exercises aimed at a nuclear war against the DPRK one after another every year; this is precipitating a critical situation in the Korean peninsula and throwing serious obstacles in the way of improving inter-Korean relations …
“The US and south Korean authorities must discontinue their extremely dangerous aggressive war exercises and suspend acts of military provocation that aggravate tension on the Korean peninsula.
“It is our consistent stand to strive with patience for peace on the peninsula and security in the region. However, if aggressors dare to provoke us … we will never tolerate it but respond resolutely with a merciless sacred war of justice; a great war for national reunification.”
Noting that US imperialism remains the biggest obstacle to Korean reunification, Comrade Kim Jong Un said: “The United States has persisted in ignoring our just demand for replacing the armistice agreement with a peace pact to remove the danger of war, ease tension and create a peaceful environment on the Korean peninsula. Instead, it has clung to its anachronistic policy hostile towards the DPRK, escalating the tension and egging its vassal forces on to stage a ‘human-rights’ racket against the country.
“However, no plots and schemes of the enemy could break the indomitable will of our service personnel and people to firmly defend and add brilliance to our style of people-centred socialism, the base of their happy life.
“The challenges by hostile forces remain uninterrupted and the situation is as tense as ever, but we will invariably advance along the road of independence, songun [the military first policy] and socialism under the unfurled red flag of the revolution, and make all responsible efforts to safeguard peace and security on the Korean peninsula and the rest of the world.
“Our party and the government of our republic will further strengthen solidarity with the peoples of the world who are opposed to aggression and war, domination and subordination, and develop relations of friendship and cooperation with all the countries that respect our national sovereignty and are friendly to us.”