North Koreans forced to study supreme leader Kim Jong Un’s recently released “master plan” for 2023 say it’s a rehash of old tropes and offers nothing on how to address the most pressing concern on people’s minds: to overcome the country’s chronic food shortage, sources say. Radio Free Asia.
Instead, it focuses on strengthening the military and the country’s missile and nuclear capabilities, and authorities are forcing citizens to study the much-publicized proposal in educational sessions this month.
“This year’s party politics … is a repetition of the same old themes that have been highlighted repeatedly for decades,” an official from the northern province of Ryanggang told RFA on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
The authorities published the pamphlet as a well, meaning it is among the county’s masterpieces of published materials and therefore an “immortal classic work.” The only other authors of nojak are Kim Jong Un’s father and predecessor Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, national founder Kim Il Sung.
The master plan did discuss some current concerns, according to the source, but none directly dealt with providing a stable food supply to the impoverished country, which has been isolated by sanctions over its nuclear program.
“They covered forestry projects, developments in science and technology and projects to eradicate non-socialist behaviour,” he said. “But unless we change our current policy of emphasizing national defense and increasing the capabilities of the military, how will we ever come up with policy that addresses the problems directly related to how people struggle to live?”
Part of the discussion is about teaching materials about Kim Jong Un’s “heroic exploits,” but the people are mocking these, a source in the northeastern province of North Hamgyong told RFA on condition of anonymity to speak freely.
“The secretary-general boasts of the nuclear force policy as a great achievement accomplished under extremely adverse conditions,” the second source said. “But this policy has been a fatal blow to the lives of residents.”
“They say, ‘Why should we do this kind of ideological study when nothing has changed after decades of study?'” he said. “This is presented as a 100-year plan to create a rich and strong country, but no one believes it.”
Translated by Claire Shinyoung Oh Lee and Leejin J. Chung