North Korea on Thursday urged its 1.2 million troops to unite behind leader Kim Jong Un and defend him with their lives, as the country celebrates the 10th anniversary of Kim’s rise to the rank of commander supreme of the army.
The anniversary comes as North Korea holds a key multi-day political conference in which officials are expected to discuss how to resolve difficulties caused by the pandemic and long-standing diplomacy with the United States.
In a lengthy editorial, the official journal Rodong Sinmun said that North Korean military commanders and soldiers must become an “impregnable fortress and bulletproof walls to dedicate (Kim) life to their lives.”
He also called for building a more modern and advanced army that serves as a “reliable guardian of our state and our people”. The editorial said all North Korean troops and people must support Kim’s leadership to establish a strong socialist country.
North Korea has previously issued similar propaganda-heavy statements urging people to side with Kim in times of difficulty. Some experts say Kim has been grappling with the most difficult time of his 10-year reign due to the coronavirus pandemic, UN sanctions and his own mismanagement.
On Monday, Kim opened a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee to review past plans and determine key policies for next year. In two days of meetings, Kim laid out unspecified development strategies for the country’s rural development, while participants discussed next year’s budget and other programs, according to state media.
Observers say North Korea is likely to disclose Kim’s positions on relations with Washington and Seoul, the stalemate over nuclear diplomacy and the economic woes at the end of the plenary meeting scheduled for later this week.
Despite the current difficulties, few outside analysts question Kim’s hold on power. Kim’s post of supreme commander in the Korean People’s Army was the first high-level post he was given following the death of his father Kim Jong Il in 2011. The current leader holds many other senior positions. level such as general secretary of the Workers’ Party and chairman. of the State Affairs Commission.