04/08/2016, 09.45
NORTH KOREA
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After 36 years Workers' Party meets to dust off communism

On May 7 a great assembly will be held, convened to legitimize "Young Marshal" Kim Jong-un once and for all the. Beyond the nuclear issue he has no other achievements to put on the table, and therefore fears possible criticism. The state media warn: "We have an arduous march before us, we must come together under the red flag."

 

Pyongyang (AsiaNews) - The capital of North Korea is hectic with preparations for the next Congress of the Workers Party, the first to be called after 36 years.  Volunteers have announced “continuous shifts” to meet the rhythm imposed by the government, while the students "without any external constraint" are devoting their free time to sweeping the streets, fixing sidewalks and coloring flower beds. All this falls under the " 70 day campaign " launched in March ahead of the conference.

The exact date of the meeting has not yet been announced, but should be in the first days of May (most likely 7). Some visitors who in recent days were able to enter the country describe a relentless drive to improve the nation's appearance as much as possible. Everywhere placards were hoisted that read: "We all become winners in the Campaign of 70 days of loyalty".

The reference to loyalty is not accidental. Analysts and experts also argue that the Congress was convened to set once and for all the foundations of the legitimacy of power to Kim Jong-un, the "Young Marshal" grandson of "father of the country" Kim Il-sung.

He rose to power very young, and is about 33 years: despite his purges, he seems not yet to have total control of the military leadership and the Party. Therefore he intends to use the meeting to avert any possibility of a coup.

The national propaganda has sided with him, and has dusted off the term "communism" to ask the people to "come together under the red flag and address difficulties." The reference to this political doctrine had been banned by the father of the current leader, Kim Jong-il, who in 2002 said: "How can we speak of communism, when we have even failed to achieve a genuine socialism?".

It is not just a language issue: the declaration of Kim's father was in fact an alignment to the position of China, the only one of North Korea’s important partners left and which, by the time of Mao’s had set aside the Marxist-Leninist theories to coin the "socialism with Chinese characteristics" that is still in power. The u-turn by Kim's son also reflects the cooling of relations between Beijing and Pyongyang.

Today, the Rodong Sinmun and the Korean Central News Agency - the two official North Korean media - use the term broadly to invite people to unity with a view to the "arduous march" that lies ahead. Even this term concerns analysts, since the last time it was used to describe the terrifying famine of the mid-nineties that killed hundreds of thousands of people.

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