North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

The Megaphone War and Light Water Reactors

In a 29 March editorial Korean Central News Agency hits back at external observation and reporting about KJI’s health, its internal economic situation and recent contingency planning around the country:

Pyongyang – There is now a deluge of “news” about the internal situation in the DPRK from the US, Japan and South Korea.

Various kinds of “reports” are pouring in to give impression that “contingency” is imminent in the DPRK and wild rumors about even the health of the supreme leader are afloat. There are “analysis and comment” that shortage of food and economic difficulties are more serious than those in the 1990s due to the “failure of monetary reform”.

There is also misinformation that the DPRK continues missile and other arms smuggling, its nuclear capacity is being steadily bolstered up, there is concern about its possible proliferation of nuclear weapons and it is opening Rajin Port and sending workers to foreign countries en masse in a bid to earn foreign currency due to financial difficulties. The scenario for vituperation seems to know no bound.

The campaign to mislead the public opinion by concentrically and malignantly tarnishing the image of the other party by such specialized methods and means of psychological warfare has been called a black propaganda campaign. This campaign naturally seeks an aim. Behind this despicable propaganda are forces displeased with any investment in the DPRK. It is aimed at holding in check investment in the DPRK in a bid to hamstring its efforts to improve the people’s standard of living by focusing efforts on economic construction.

The DPRK uses the editorial to announce that will build a light water reactor:

They would be well advised to remember that the DPRK has a firm foundation of the independent national economy which remains solid despite any storm from outside.

The DPRK will witness the appearance of a light water reactor power plant relying on its own nuclear fuel in the near future in the 2010s in the wake of mass-production of juche iron and Juche-based vinalon cotton, its reply to them.

While Kyodo focuses on the megaphone war, Xinhua’s report emphasizes the construction of the light water reactor:

Media reports from the United States, South Korea and Japan are pointing to an economic crisis in the DPRK, which is not true, according to the KCNA.

These reports are giving impression that “contingency” is imminent in the DPRK as shortage of food and economic difficulties are more serious than those in the 1990s due to the failure of monetary reform, it said.

There are even rumors about the health of DPRK supreme leader Kim Jong Il, it added.

“They would be well advised to remember that the DPRK has a firm foundation of an independent national economy which remains solid despite any storm from outside,” said the KCNA.

The DPRK announced it would “develop a light water reactor actively” last April. In September last year, the DPRK’s representative to the United Nations told the Security Council that the country had succeeded in experimental uranium enrichment.

The editorial seems to be a continuation of one from last week which named several defector-staffed, ROK-based media outfits as participating in “smear campaigns.”  It also seems to be a response to reports* about testimony to US Congressional committees by General Walter Sharp and Admiral Robert Willard, a portion of which addressed contingencies on the Peninsula.

The announcement of the construction of the light water reactor may well set the table for the 2nd session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly on 9 April.  In terms of succession;  the light water reactor may also be another propaganda accomplishment the Party History Institute will add to the Morningstar General’s resume.

*I need to underscore that this editorial seems a response to the media coverage and reporting (which focused on contingency planning) on General Sharp’s and Admiral Willard’s testimony to US House and US Senate (sub-) committees, and not the testimony itself.

No Comments

  1. eunsung
    March 30, 2010

    My understanding is that it is difficult to produce bomb fuel from LWRs. Could this new emphasis indicate a change in the NK negotiating position? Namely, that the DPRK will give up its nuclear weapons and Yongbyon reactor in exchange for the right to construct a LWR for power generation?

    That would be a face-saving way out of the NK nuke crisis for all parties….

  2. Gag Halfrunt
    March 30, 2010

    The KCNA editorial writers seem to have a policy of denying everything, even the Chinese and Russian investment in Rajin which Chinese officials are happy to talk about on the record.

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