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Koreans announce new leader

Published Apr 19, 2012 11:03 PM

The leading bodies of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have shown great confidence in the youth of their country. They have picked a young man in his twenties to assume the highest responsibilities of the state, the army and the party.

On April 15, Kim Jong Un was officially named the supreme leader of the DPRK, assuming the posts of first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and first chairman of the National Defense Commission. That date coincided with mass celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, who had led the Korean people through decades of successful struggle against both Japanese and U.S. imperialism.

With the elevation of Kim Jong Un, the DPRK has completed its transition to a new leader after the untimely death in December of Kim Jong Il, who had guided the country for 18 years after the loss of Kim Il Sung.

The new leader, speaking to the mass celebrations in Pyongyang, the capital, reiterated themes of the greatest importance to the Korean people: the commitment to continue a strong defense of the country, and the building of a prosperous economy that can meet the needs of all the people.

The DPRK is a socialist country. Its wealth is not controlled by private capitalists but belongs to the people. It provides free education to the highest levels as well as free medical care for all. However, it had to pull itself up by its own bootstraps after the Korean War of 1950 to 1953, when the U.S. attacked the northern half of the Korean peninsula and demolished almost all of the housing, industry, bridges, ports and other structures the people had built up.

While the Pentagon used many types of weapons in the war, the level of napalm use alone shows the fiendish nature of this assault: U.S. forces dropped an average of one quarter of a million pounds of napalm bombs on the DPRK for every day of the war. (GlobalSecurity.org) Parts of the north to this day are still trying to recover from the damage to the ecosystem created by napalm-ignited forest fires.

Everyone in north Korea has family who fought and suffered in that war. They understand the great need to have a deterrent to another military intervention. They have poured their energies into rebuilding the country and also making it invulnerable to another imperialist attack.

Even under peaceful conditions, it requires a mighty effort by any country once subject to colonial rule to reshape its economy from one that was developed by foreign capital in order for these exploiters to extract raw materials and labor for their own benefit into one that is developed mainly through the people’s own initiative in order to supply the needs of the nation.

When the country must allocate much of its resources to defense and also is prevented from normal commercial intercourse with the world by imperialist-imposed sanctions, the task of development becomes even more challenging.

The people of the DPRK, united behind the Workers’ Party and its leaders, have met that challenge many times. The elevation of Kim Jong Un, who comes from a long line of revolutionary fighters, is assurance that this tradition will continue. n