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  • » 04/08/2011, 00.00

    NORTH KOREA

    N Korean parliament discusses “economy”, not succession

    Joseph Yun Li-sun

    Meeting in Pyongyang, the members of the Supreme People’s Assembly have put aside the issue of Kim Jong-il’s succession, announcing inside “huge funds” for the country’s economic development. Of course, these are but words as people starve to death.

    Seoul (AsiaNews) – “Huge funds" to develop industry and agriculture and a “renewed effort” to turn North Korea into "a great, powerful and prosperous nation" by 2012 are the goals set out today during the opening session of the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) of North Korea, one of the poorest nations in Asia.

    Meeting in Pyongyang, hundreds of delegates approved the first budget presented by the government, but, contrary to expectations, did not honour in any way the third son of Dictator Kim Jong-il.

    Of course, this means very little. First, the plenary session will continue for a week. Second, before the assembly started its work, delegates visited a housing project sponsored by Kim Jong-un. Finally, the history of the country shows that succession only occurs when the current leader dies.

    Nevertheless, the rubber-stamp assembly is useful for promoting or removing this or that individual from Kim Jong-il’s inner circle.

    So far, the only significant development worth mentioning is the sacking of one of the government’s deputy prime ministers, for “health reasons”.

    Instead, propaganda took the lion share of the SPA’s time. Prime Minister Choe Yong-rim stressed the need to meet grain harvest targets "to bring about a decisive turn in improving the standard of people's living".

    Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Pak Su-Gil promised "huge funds" to develop industry and agriculture.

    Ultimately, the goal of this parliamentary meeting is to turn North Korea into "a great, powerful and prosperous nation" by 2012, the centenary of the birth of the country’s ‘eternal president’, Kim Il-sung, a goal that is nigh impossible given the fact North Korea is going through one of the worst socio-economic crises in its history.

    There is almost nothing for the population to keep going. According to some reports, people are eating anything they can find, even earth.

    “In North Korea, we are living like dogs,” an anonymous source said. “I’d like something else, but that’s the way it is”.

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    See also

    07/04/2011 NORTH KOREA
    People’s Assembly opens amid famine and weapons in Pyongyang
    Delegates trickled in over the past three days to make the usual visits before each year’s annual meeting to pay their respect to the late Kim Il-sung and to praise his son Kim Jong-il. Everyone is waiting for the consecration of the heir, Kim Jong-un; no one expects any change to the regime’s disastrous economic policies, which are decimating the population.

    26/09/2012 NORTH KOREA
    Kim convenes parliament to seek youth loyalty and Chinese aid
    The dictator attends the second plenary session of the Supreme People's Assembly of this year. He wants to appear more open and "democratic" than his father. The assembly extends compulsory education by a year but does not tackle economic reforms. The goal appears to be to remove the old guard and convince Beijing to provide aid.

    10/04/2014 NORTH KOREA
    Free clothes, double rooms and no vote: the life of a North Korea member of parliament
    The annual meeting of the Supreme People's Assembly, "is just a puppet show , in which the delegates hand in their vote ahead of the ballot and have no right to speak. Everyone practices cries of ' Long life!' to Kim Jong-un, then they do some sightseeing and finally go home". The testimony of a former state industry manager.

    15/02/2005 NORTH KOREA
    Is Kim Jong-il preparing his succession or strengthening his hold on power?
    There are different views but all agree that something is happening in Pyongyang.

    03/12/2013 NORTH KOREA
    Kim Jong-un's uncle removed in Pyongyang's latest purge
    Jang Song-thaek, the regime's eminence grise who handled the transition of power after the death of Kim Jong-il, was removed from his post at the National Defence Commission. A major powerbroker in the regime, he is married to the sister of the deceased 'dear leader' and acted as his nephew's guardian. The latter now appears to be on his way to emancipation.



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