Taking the opposite stance to that of Kim Jong Il when he visited China in August, Rodong Shinmun has reaffirmed North Korea's commitment to the “Juche economy” and its appropriateness.
In China last month, Kim is said to have told his guests, “After reform and opening, China is alive everywhere due to rapid development,” a comment that was picked up and supported by Rodong Shinmun early in September.
However, through its editorial on the 18th, “Juche Realization Is the Banner of Our Economic Revival and Leap Forward,” the Chosun Workers’ Party insisted, “There is no bigger sin than handing over a lame economy begging from others to the next generation.”
It explained, “There is no time like the present, when the principles of Juche realization stand out in front with their universality and it is the trend of economic development to develop one's own materials and concentrate on using them.”
“We can live wealthily enough with the development of our inexhaustible materials for generations and prepare enough funds for the construction of an economically strong state,” it went on.
The editorial pointed out, “Living by relying on foreign powers is a selfish way to be; being rich only for that one generation.”
Regarding the contradictory direction of the editorial when compared to the positive tone since Kim’s visit to China, one anonymous defector who was associated with the Party said, “Just like with his visit to Shanghai in 2001, regardless of how highly Kim Jong Il praises Chinese development, the Kim Jong Il regime’s principals do not change.”
“There have been many cases of China not accepting Kim Jong Il's requirements,” the defector went on, “so Kim turned sullen and made a gesture to get on China’s nerves. This seems like a similar case, so the North’s authorities have asserted again the need for a self-supporting economy. Nothing has changed in terms of economic principle.”
Another such case occurred in the mid-1990s, during negotiations while North Korea was trying to obtain Chinese help with its light industry sector. At the time, China requested compensation for Chinese Peoples’ Liberation Army fallen soldiers during the Korean War, so the negotiating mood immediately froze. Annoyed, Kim Jong Il ordered Chosun People’s Army Chief of Staff Kim Young Chun to sell two sets of missile to Taiwan. This order was officially circulated by cadres’ lectures so that it would leak out to China. Several days later, there was a sudden unofficial visit by Kim to Dandong.
Whether or not the Kim Jong Il regime is really going to reveal changes to its economic policies is one point of interest for the Party Delegates’ Conference, which is scheduled to begin on the 28th.