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Kim Jong-un Takes Victory Lap at Year-End North Korea Elite Meeting

Communist dictator Kim Jong-un celebrated “eye-opening victories and events achieved in all fields for socialist construction” throughout 2023 at the opening of an end-of-year meeting of regime elites on Tuesday in Pyongyang, North Korea.

North Korea’s state-run propaganda outlet, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), announced the opening of a year-end meeting of the Korean Workers’ Party (WPK) Central Committee members on Wednesday, the equivalent of the Communist Party’s “politburo” and consisting of the most powerful people in the country. According to KCNA, the summit’s objective is to “put six major agenda items” forward, “including the review of the implementation of the Party and state policies in 2023, the orientation of struggle in 2024, the implementation of the state budget in 2023 and the draft state budget for 2024.”

Kim will also preside over discussions on who should be in leadership positions within the WPK, the state outlet declared.

KCNA is the flagship propaganda outlet of the North Korean regime. North Korea is also home to a variety of communist agitation publications, most prominently the newspaper Rodong Sinmun, but any media not directly controlled by the Kim family is illegal to consume. The punishment for consuming illegal media in North Korea is death.

The WPK end-of-year meeting is a lavish affair, in which North Korea’s most powerful officials partake in extravagant displays of wealth in a country with extreme levels of poverty. The South Korean newswire service Yonhap observed that communist state media footage of officials arriving at the meeting showed them exiting luxury vehicles, including a Mercedes-Maybach S-Class that international sanctions legally prohibit from being sold to the regime.

KCNA described the atmosphere and Kim’s attitude at the WPK meeting as upbeat and optimistic, a change in tone from the critical and negative statements Kim made publicly about his officials during the nearly three years of lockdowns triggered by the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. Kim claimed to have made significant progress in the development of infrastructure in Pyongyang and growth of the economy, in addition to applauding the various illegal and threatening actions his military has recently taken.

The meeting follows the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, claimed to be the solid-fuel “Hwasong-18,” on December 18, an intended threat against the United States. In public statements confirming the launch days later, Kim asserted that it was necessary to “clearly show” America that Pyongyang was prepared to launch nuclear strikes against it. North Korea also recently launched what it claimed to be an espionage satellite into orbit, which it alleged was monitoring the White House.

“The year 2023 is a year that the whole Party and all the people have united around the great Party Central Committee and worked heart and soul to demonstrate the mightiness, solidity and invincibility of the DPRK [North Korea],” KCNA declared in its coverage of the ongoing WPK summit. Among the major successes touted in the report was Kim’s decision in September to amend the North Korean constitution to declare the country a nuclear-armed state permanently, a move that would prevent Kim family successors from signing agreements with the international community to denuclearize.

“Thanks to the attainment of the main goals of the five-year plan for the development of national defence, new strategic weapons were developed one after another, the whole of national defence capabilities rapidly advanced,” KCNA claimed, “and space reconnaissance assets were possessed.”

It then summarized statements allegedly made by Kim himself at the meeting, presented as a “report” updating his elites on his successes.

“The report proudly appreciated the eye-opening victories and events achieved in all fields for socialist construction and the strengthening of the national power in 2023,” KCNA relayed. “The General Secretary in his report defined 2023 as a year of great turn and great change both in name and reality, in which the DPRK left a great trace in the glorious course of development in the efforts to improve the national power and enhance the prestige of the country.”

At the end of the meeting, expected to last through the new year, Kim is “likely to deliver a major speech” previewing Pyongyang’s foreign policy, Yonhap reported.

“Since 2020, Kim has skipped the address and has instead delivered a speech at a plenary session of the year-end party meeting,” it added.

Kim’s policy towards the United States, which it has technically been at war with since 1950, has become more belligerent under the administration of leftist American President Joe Biden. The Hwasong-18 debuted in July, a heightened menace from its predecessors requiring liquid fuel to launch. A liquid-fuel ICBM takes more time to prepare for launch – time that could prove pivotal for the target’s defensive measures. Its most recent launch was on December 18.

“The present situation clearly shows the inveterate confrontation stand of the U.S. and its predominant stooges keen on their unchangeable instinctive and constitutional ambition for aggression,” KCNA declared in a commentary following the launch, “and predicts a black augury of total destruction of the security environment in the Korean peninsula to be further aggravated.”

On December 21, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, warned that it had evidence North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear complex was active, potentially generating nuclear weapon fuel.

“More recent observations indicate that this water discharge is warm, which is also consistent with ongoing commissioning of the LWR, a process that takes some time for any new reactor,” Rafael Grossi, the head of the IAEA, said in a statement regarding water discharge from a nuclear reactor on site, adding that the reactor in question “can produce plutonium … so this is a cause for concern.”


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