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Economic power and self-reliance key to North Korea’s survival

Raquel R Bacay / Khmer Times Share:
A man looks at the monitors of a process control system in a shoe factory in Pyongyang, North Korea. KT/Raquel R Bacay

The survival of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is highly dependent on the success of the country’s policy of thriving as a socialist nation.

This policy is based on five pillars: ideology, military, science and technology, economy and, finally, civilisation.

This is according to key researchers from the Economic Institute of Pyongyang, who said that to thrive as a socialist economic power, the country is focused on ‘Juche’, the official state ideology of DPRK, to be self-reliant and a strong nation which can achieve true socialism.

In this context, Juche is the driving force of the economy, emphasising science and technology as the main vehicles to accelerate economic development.

“In recent years, economic development has become a priority for the government, and the principle of economic development is dependent on the Juche ideology of self-reliance to achieve economic parity and sustained growth,” said Ri Ki Song, a senior researcher at the Economic Institute of Pyongyang.

“When we talk about self-reliance, we talk about developing DPRK without being subjugated to other forces or relying on external factors as well as building the local economy through its own ability and might and be self-sustaining,” said Mr Ri.

“By advancing the great line of building an independent national economy for the first time in history and guiding its implementation wisely, the DPRK government has established the foundations for its strategy of building a socialist economy and a model of self-reliance,” he added.

He said the economic power that DPRK is building has three main characteristics: self-reliance, knowledge-based economy, and technology. Mr Ri explained that national security and economic growth are achieved by a combination of the citizens’ own capabilities and knowledge.

The DPRK, Mr Ri said, is using the knowledge-based economic model to develop its science and technology sector and advance its industry with cutting-edge technology to increase economic output.

He added that the leaders have endeavour to set up the necessary structure for an “independent economy”.

Ms Kim Jong Arum and Mr. Ri Ki Song. KT/Raquel R Bacay

“The characteristics of such a structure is that it is diversified and comprehensive. The country is equipped with enough production sectors to satisfy the need for various raw materials. When those materials are lacking the country is able to develop alternatives through the application of science and technology.

“Our policy and system calls for an economy that is in itself a complete structure and includes every process, from manufacturing to the final product,” he said, adding that when a diversified and comprehensive economic model is established, the country is able to transform its production facilities to increase prosperity for the people.

This leads to a final aspect of this policy, which, according to Mr Ri, is creating an “economic paradise” where everyone can lead a dignified life “without being subjected to or dependent on external forces.”

He said that the DPRK, by adopting and implementing the basic line of socialist economic construction – which demands that the emphasis be given to the development of heavy industry in tandem with light industry and agriculture – has led to the consistent pursuit of economic growth with an impetus on another critical sector, the defense industry.

“The development of the defense industry is an absolute priority,” Mr Ri said. “The country has formed and consolidated an independent economy which has been realigned to the simultaneous development of the defense industry, whose aim is to ensure national security.”

He stressed that science and technology are now the most significant forces driving economic development. This can be seen in the country’s education system, Mr Ri said.

“In DPRK, free universal education, which is compulsory and last 12 years, has aided the development and nurturing of exceptional talent in technical sectors.

“At the same time, the policy of making all people well-versed in science and technology, based on the study-while-working system and distance learning has been carried out successfully, resulting in the production of a large number of competent personnel in all sectors.”

While sanctions have its effects, they have only served to motivate the government of the DPRK and its people to be even more steadfast in the spirit of self-reliance. This has now led to the mushrooming of factories and enterprises around the country that integrate the latest technology.

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