The Guardian 26 January, 2005
Democratic People's Korea lists priorities for 2005
While continuing to face a build-up of US military forces in the region and threats of pre-emptive military strikes and allegations that it is one of an "axis of evil" nation, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will give priority to building up its own defensive forces in 2005. This is made clear in a New Year editorial published by the Korean Central News Agency.
Defence industries will also be strengthened. "The defence industry is the foundation of the nation's military and economic potential", says the statement. At the same time socialist construction will advance: "We should effect an unprecedented boost in production".
The editorial lists a number of priorities.
Agriculture is to be the main front of socialist economic construction this year. Readers will recall that some years ago, the DPRK suffered devastating floods which were then followed by drought. It was in these circumstances that food shortages developed. The consolidation of small plots into larger areas allowing the introduction of mechanised farming methods, and the introduction of high yield crops and a two-crops-a-year system with the use of chemical fertilisers are transforming agricultural production and overcoming the earlier difficulties.
The editorial also lists electricity and coal production, the metal industry and railway transport as taking a lead in production. The capital, Pyongyang, is to be "spruced up" and many more modern dwelling houses built in both urban and rural areas. Revolutionary culture and education will also be given attention.
A significant factor which is helping to bring about a changed situation on the Korean peninsular is the strong growth of support among the Korean people — both of the north and the south — for reunification.
The editorial says that it is an "unbearable shame" that Korea's sovereignty has been infringed by the 40-year long Japanese occupation and then, following WW2, by the 60-year long occupation by US troops.
"Let's advance holding high the flag of co-operation for national independence, co-operation for peace against war and co-operation for reunification and patriotism!", says the editorial. It calls upon the Korean people to "swim with the trend of reunification and patriotism".
This year will mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Korea from Japanese occupation on August 15, 1945 and the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) on October 10th, 1945.
"It is essential to more thoroughly establish a revolutionary discipline and order throughout the Party and in society whereby the people move as one under the WPK's unitary leadership", says the editorial.