North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (R), in the marshal‘s white uniform, attends a military parade Monday at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army, in this photo released Tuesday by North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency. (Yonhap)
A North Korean newspaper claimed Wednesday that Kim Jong-un’s leadership enabled the country to develop “absolute” military power and protect the North Korean people from external threats and danger of invasion.
The Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, highlighted the North Korean leader’s purported achievement in bolstering military strength two days after the massive military parade held in Pyongyang to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army on April 25.
The newspaper, which mainly targets the domestic audience, underscored the significance and necessity of reinforcing military power, especially as war and instability span across the world.
“Building up strong military power is the fundamental guarantee for protecting the dignity and sovereignty of the country and people, and for achieving peace and development in a world where compulsion by force and abuse of power prevail and military aggression and interference are overtly carried out,” the Rodong Sinmun said in a Korean-language article.
The party organ pointed out that weak countries have a “long-standing ambition to develop powerful military power that can repel foreign aggression,” and have repeatedly faced the “dismal fate” of being invaded by world powers.
But the newspaper said a country cannot strengthen military power to defend itself without leadership, elucidating that national wealth does not always lead to military strength.
“Only when (a country) subserves an outstanding leader, it can develop powerful national defense capabilities and invincible military power that can protect itself and show off dignity,” the Rodong Sinmun said.
Growing global instability, security concerns
The Rodong Sinmun called for the North Korean people to realize they can live normal lives “when wars and bloodshed atrocities have continued around the world and many people have sought refuge due to imperialists’ tyrannical scheme to invade.”
The newspaper continued to highlight the North Korean leader’s efforts to protect the country against “continuing dangerous challenges that threaten its sovereignty and right to live” and develop the country’s “absolute power despite manifold hardships that hinder its development and progress.”
General Secretary Kim Jong-un’s sacrifice and leadership in “further solidifying the foundation of national defense” leads to the country’s success in reinforcing its military strength, the Rodong Sinmun said, adding that the leader has been at the front of the “far-off, perilous and arduous road.”
“(Kim) has built up an irresistible war deterrent to firmly defend the safety of the motherland and people, and peace in the region and in the world with his genius foresight, prodigious and prominent leadership and unparalleled courage,” the newspaper said.
“We could never think of today’s high dignity and glory without revolutionary armed forces, the strongest national defense capabilities which our dear respected comrade general secretary has established with altruistic dedication and hard work.”
In a separate political essay, or “jongron” in Korean, the Rodong Sinmun on Wednesday said the strength of a country is “determined not by the size of territory and population, but by the greatness of the leader and leadership ideology.”
The newspaper also commented that the military parade gave a lesson that “a mighty army ensures peace on the territory and happiness of all families,” underscoring the significance of the military strength.
“If we do not have an appropriate level of self-defense national capabilities, we will have no choice but to be dragged and coerced by external military threats, and furthermore we cannot protect the existence of the state and our people. That is the way of the world.”
Military buildup as Kim’s front-page achievement
The party organ’s report is noteworthy as Pyongyang has highlighted the development of advanced weapons systems and military buildup as Kim’s front-page achievement at major events, including the five-day party plenum held in December 2021, amid the ongoing economic recession.
Some analysts view that Kim Jong-un might see the necessity to produce tangible achievements in enhancing military strength to offset his failure in boosting the economy at a critical juncture, given that economic growth is an essential component to consolidate Kim Jong-un’s ruling legitimacy.
This year particularly marks the 10th anniversary of Kim ascending to the first secretary of the Workers‘ Party of Korea and first chairman of the now-defunct National Defense Commission.
The North Korean leader previously pronounced a “new strategic line” of focusing on economic development in April 2018 after declaring the victory of the Byungjin policy of simultaneously pursuing nuclear weapons and economic growth. But he has not declared a new strategic line since then.
The Rodong Sinmun highlighting the North Korean leader’s fulfillment in reinforcing national defense capabilities also came two days after Kim underscored the necessity of accelerating the development of the new weapons and legitimizing the country’s move to focus on enhancing defense capabilities in his speech delivered during the military parade.
Kim, in his marshal’s military uniform, said the current situation calls for North Korea to “take more proactive measures to permanently and firmly guarantee the modernity and military and technological strength of the armed forces.”