Simmering discontent rises to the surface following '200-Day Battle' order

Choi Song Min  |  2016-06-02 00:09
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Less than a month after the conclusion of the 70-Day Battle in preparation for the 7th Party Congress, the North Korean authorities have issued orders for a 200-Day Battle, stirring up palpable discontent among the general public, Daily NK has learned.

Although the 70-Day Battle only recently ended, fresh orders to begin a 200-Day Battle have been issued, a source from South Pyongan Province reported in a telephone conversation to Daily NK on May 30, adding, The orders stipulate that a new battle will commence on June 1 and last until December 17 (the day of Kim Jong Ils death).

Sources in North Pyongan Province and Ryanggang Province also reported similar developments in their respective regions.

The announcement has triggered discontent among the public, to the degree that some individuals are complaining [amongst themselves] about the state issuing constant mobilizations when nothing else is being addressed, noted the source.

How many more battles demanding every last ounce of our blood and sweat can we handle? some have asked, with others saying, Even some Party cadres have been critical, asking why the state is going on about another battle when one just came to an end, said the source.

The new 200-Day Battle appears to be part of the preliminary work for the implementation of the five-year economic development laid out by Kim Jong Un during the 7th Party Congress. The directive reflects the lack of tools the leadership has at hand when it comes to implementing the plans that were announced at the congress, which were aimed at building solidarity and increasing loyalty amongst the population.

During previous Party congresses (under Kim Il Sung), at least the plan put forth clearly outlined economic goals by sector. But this time, there was no clarity, the source said, adding, Its likely the state will just push slogans for full-on mobilization and absolute goal attainment with no clear aim on what should be done, how, and to what extent.

This has led some North Koreans to perceive the 200-Day Battle as nothing more than a propaganda vehicle to imbue people with a sense of obligation to participate in projects laid out during the Party Congress and memorializing Kim Jong Ils death.

The 200-Day Battle is being referred to as a rigorous march, mourning the loss of the General (Kim Jong Il), while attempting to remedy the anti-climactic atmosphere following the Party Congress, the source said. The state is signaling it will hold a much larger event of mourning this year, as its the fifth anniversary of the Generals (Kim Jong Ils) death [as is the case for anniversaries marking five and ten years].

Meanwhile, officials at central agencies, workers at state factories, and even college students are being requested to memorize the speech Kim Jong Un delivered at the 7th Party Congress, adding further difficulties to their study schedules and efforts to meet production quotas. 

*Translated by Jiyeon Lee
*Edited by Lee Farrand

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