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Announcing ‘Austerity and Rectification’ at the Sixth Cell Secretaries’ Meeting of the WPK

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Author Park, Young-Ja
Publish Date / Page 2021-04-26 / 14 p.
Series No. CO 21-13(E)
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The Sixth cell secretaries’ meeting of the Workers’ Party of Korea was the announcement of ‘austerity measures and the popular rectification of discipline necessitated by the continued advancement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons system amidst increasing economic difficulties.’ It was an event on the path towards controlling through the ‘popular reign of terror’ the anticipated unrest and discontent from the bottom up, caused by the development of advanced strategic weapons and the continued advancement of its nuclear arsenal over the next five years that can increase bargaining leverage vis-a-vis the U.S. It also appears intended to prepare and preemptively secure the legitimacy of the governance of the regime in anticipation of ‘the pain and life of hardship’ that could occur due to a worsening economy. Anticipating the next five years in North Korea, it does not seem likely that famine and starvation to the extent of the mid-1990s will repeat absent massive natural disasters occurring in succession. This is because the various North Korean actors that have grown through the process of marketization over the past 30 years have established their own survival mechanisms of sorts. The ‘second arduous march,’ which evokes images of famine and starvation among the people of North Korea, is not what the Kim Jong-un regime truly fears. Rather, it is the abandonment of the population and grassroots organizations that have learned the ‘taste of money and freedom’ over the past 30 years. Therefore, it is necessary to observe what type of survival tactics the people and grassroots organizations in North Korea adopt in response to the Kim Jong-un regime’s ‘popular reign of terror.’