|Songun Politics of north Korea
& Situation on Korean Peninsula
(Following is the gist of the e-mail interview between information director Kang Min-hwa of the Association for Korea's Peaceful Reunification in Tokyo and Director Han Ho-sok of the Unification Institute in New York, requested by the Unified Korea Institute in Tokyo, Japan.)
1. Songun politics -- the anti-imperialist independent politics
2. Solution through victory in ideological confrontation
3. Difference between the Cuban Crisis and the Korean
4. Origin of the Songun politics
5. The idea on socio-political integrity and Songun politics
6. Historic experiences of the socialist construction and Songun politics
7. Songun politics over the policy of building strong army and the policy of giving priority to
8. Songun politics' correlation with national independence and reunification
9. Struggle between socialism and imperialism and Songun politics
10. Struggle against anti-reunification forces
11. View on the death of Chung Mong-hun
12. The situation requires practicians, not spectators
1. Songun politics -- anti-imperialist independent politics
Kang Min-hwa: North Korea proposed to have north Korea-US talk in the frame of the six-way talk and thus the Beijing talk was held in August this year. Considering the fact that the international community, as well as all Korean compatriots both at home and abroad, had worried over the Korean situation after the Iraqi War, the convention of the Beijing talk is a big progress, I think.
I believe that the situation has in a sense demonstrated the mightiness of the Songun (army-based) politics, new and unique political mode of north Korea. And but for the Songun politics, the situation could not progress as today. What is your opinion?
Han Ho-sok: As you know, the politics of Kim Jong Il, Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission, is named the Songun (army-centered) politics. In order to have correct understanding of the Songun politics of Chairman Kim Jong Il, it is essential to have knowledge of the decade-long north Korea-US relations after the nuclear issue appeared in 1993, and it is also necessary to understand the Sognun politics to see into the north Korea-US relations.
The final purpose the American ruling group seeks after in enforcing imperialist policies is in brief to get domination and plunder, whereas the final aim Kim Jong Il pursues in the socialist policies is to accomplish the cause of anti-imperialist independence. The construction of "the people-centered socialist society" Chairman Kim Jong Il defined is unthinkable apart from the anti-imperialist cause of independence against the anti-socialist offensive of imperialists.
As experts in the north Korean issues know well, the socialist construction in north Korea was promoted by three ideological, technical and cultural revolutions from the 1970s through the 1980s. In the 1990s and the 2000s, however, it has been expedited by the Songun revolution added to the three revolutions. The politics in the revolutionary country is geared to the revolution. The north Korean Songun politics is therefore pushed head with in the track of the Songun revolutionary line. The Songun politics is major method of the socialist politics and the Songun revolution is the major line of the socialist revolution.
In order to correctly comprehend Chairman Kim Jong Il's Songun politics, it is imperative to know how he picks up the essence of the current situation, along with the characteristics and duty of the anti-imperialist cause of independence he leads, and in order to see through his cause of anti-imperialist independence it is necessary to study his theory on modern imperialism.
As to the current situation, the Chairman has elucidated that acute showdown goes on between socialism and imperialism, between independent forces and domination forces on the global stage. As far as I know, Chairman Kim Jong Il has propounded the theory on modern imperialism already in those days when he was studying in the Politico-Economics College of Kim Il Sung University. His theory was known to have excelled Lenin's classic theory on imperialism.
Lenin's theory on imperialism was described in his work "Imperialism as the Final Stage of Capitalism" published in 1916, in which he explained the essence of imperialism that appeared in Europe in the late 19th century through the early 20th century and described the imperialism as the final stage of capitalism. He believed that imperialism was the last stage of capitalism that fully revealed its reactionary, corrupt, weak, plunderous and aggressive natures.
What we should know here is the fact that Lenin's theory on imperialism has explained the self-contradiction of the imperialist forces, but failed to see through the contradiction between the imperialist forces and the anti-imperialist forces desirous of independence.
The limit of Lenin's classic theory on imperialism was just the limit of the days when he lived and the anti-imperialist independent forces were feeble.
That is why, the changed situation in the late 1950s and the early 1960s after the lapse of half a century raised new many problems Lenin couldn't solve - the intensified imperialist maneuverings of the United States in Europe and Asia, the Soviet Union's possession of nuclear arms and its monopoly of space development, the increase of the anti-imperialist independent forces and the Cuban Crisis.
The thesis "The Character and Aggressive Nature of Modern Imperialism" published by Chairman Kim Jong Il on January 15 1962 defined the modern imperialism in four points; first, modern imperialism's dependence on state monopoly capitalism; second, neo-colonialist policies; third, reorganization with the United States as its head and four, its declination to final fall.
2. Solution through victory in ideological confrontation
A qualitative change took place in the situation of the 1990s when a new generation appeared since Kim Jong Il propounded the theory on modern imperialism. That was the increased moves of the United States for "globalization", the inactivity of the anti-imperialist independent forces and the crisis of the Korean Peninsula.
The acute contradiction between imperialist forces and anti-imperialist forces cropped out into the Cuban Crisis in the early 1960s, and the contradiction in the early 1990s produced the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. The Cuban Crisis was not a political and military crisis between Cuba and the United States, but a crisis between the former Soviet Union and the United States. And the crisis of the Korean Peninsula is the political and military confrontation between north Korea and the United States.
The Cuban Crisis came to an end with the political defeat of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union sustained the political defeat at last, though it had powerful potentials enough to stand against the imperialist forces both politically and militarily during the Cuban Crisis. Why? In my judgement, it was mainly because Moscow abandoned the idea of independence to fight against the threat of war. The Soviet Union, which had physical force against the United States, was shoved by the United States' offensive. It has practically proved that the essence of the issue is not the physical force and that defeat in the ideological confrontation leads to defeat in the competition of physical power.
The Korean Crisis, which has lasted from the early 1990s up to this date, is the political and military showdown between north Korea and the United States, that is, a confrontation of strength between the anti-imperialist independent forces and the imperialists. The key to victory in this confrontation is victory in the ideological confrontation. This is just the maxim of Chairman Kim Jong Il.
In the 1990s quite different with the 1960s, it was really serious matter that the anti-imperialist independent forces of the world could not unite against the imperialists' moves for invasion and war. North Korea could not but hold aloft the banner of socialism all alone. Throughout the international community there was neither ally nor supporter to north Korea in the anti-imperialist struggle. North Korean people should fight single-handed against the United States. Under that situation they needed to have new political mode and revolutionary line to further intensify the anti-imperialist struggle.
Imperialists have increased pressure upon north Korea on the plea of nuclear issue and additionally the natural disasters repeated year by year, causing economic difficulties there. The Chairman had no alternative but winning in the ideological confrontation against imperialists.
What and how should north Korea do to win the ideological confrontation against imperialists? Kim Jong Il initiated the mode of Songun politics and the line of Songun revolution as the answer to the questions.
This is just ten years since the north Korea-US showdown became acute as the former Clinton Administration of the United States raised the so-called nuclear issue of north Korea. During the period Iraq, Somalia, Yugoslav, Afghanistan and again Iraq were all ruined one after another. When those countries were being destroyed by update weapons of the United States, there were rumors that north Korea would be a next target and that another Korean War would break out soon.
But Americans did not dare to commit military attack against north Korea. Even when Pyongyang withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, reprocessed spent nuclear fuel rods and informed Americans of its nuclear program, driving them into a tight corner they did not dare to dispatch even an aircraft carrier flotilla to the Korean East Sea, to say nothing of a military attack.
It was all the United States staged an "adaptation exercise" in south Korea by dispatching a platoon of a rapid deployment corps. The platoon troops, however, were occupied of their armored cars by students under the South Korean Federation of University Student Councils and saw a US Stars and Stripes burnt, before they began the exercise in Pochon, Gyonggi Province.
Even though north Korea threatens to do nuclear weapons test or to show its nuclear program in other way, Washington is quite at a loss what to do. Americans committed military attack on Iraq even though Baghdad did not have a nuke. Why are they at a loss what to do as to north Korea threatening to do nuclear test. We should know the reason.
3. Difference between the Cuban Crisis and the Korean Crisis
In the Cuban Crisis the United States blockaded the Cuban Seas and threatened to launch a war against the Soviet Union, by taking an issue with the Soviet's missile base in Cuba. These days, however, Pyongyang maintains a tough stance that if Washington employs containment against north Korea Pyongyang will regard it as a declaration of war. The United States won in the Cuban Crisis but fails in the Korean Crisis. It is a great comparison.
What produces such a reality? What is the essence of the reality? Does Washington take generous attitude toward north Koreans? No. Americans have designated north Korea as the first and foremost target they will destroy. But they dare not attack north Korea militarily, because they have failed both in the ideological confrontation and then in the political and military confrontations.
In the Cuban Crisis the independent anti-imperialist forces failed in the ideological confrontation, but in the Korean Crisis, the imperialist forces were completely defeated.
North Korea could win tactical victories in the showdown against the United States during the past decade, for having maintained the anti-imperialist independent stance in the struggle. The struggle was always led by the Songun politics and the Songun-based revolution.
The decade-long relation between north Korea and the United States was in fact the north Korea-US showdown, that is, the ideological confrontation between socialism and imperialism. Chairman Kim Jong Il said that the confrontation with enemies is the confrontation of ideology, as well as the confrontation of military strength, that he puts emphasis on ideology even in the military build-up and military activities, that the military strike has limit in its power, but ideology has no limit and its power is more tremendous than atom bomb, and that the nucleus of the military power is the ideological consciousness of soldiers.
After the demise of the Soviet Union-style socialism Kim Jong Il published the works including "The Historical Lesson in Building Socialism and the General Line of Our Party" on January 3, 1992, "Abuses of Socialism Are Intolerable" on March 1, 1993, "Socialism is A Science" on November 1, 1994 and "Giving Priority to the Ideological Work is the Essential Requirement for Accomplishment of the Socialist Cause" on June 19, 1995.
The idea of Chairman Kim Jong Il, which runs through these theses, is that the historical experiences of the socialist construction show that the whole socialist system falls down when the socialist ideological system crumbles. Protection and development of the socialist system in north Korea is precisely the protection and development of the socialist ideological system.
The esteemed Chairman has achieved tactical victories in the confrontation by strengthening the anti-imperialist independent forces with the Songun-based revolutionary leadership and by mobilizing the power of anti-imperialist independent idea with the Sognun policy for ten years -- north Korea's secession from NPT and publication of the New York joint communique' between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the United States in 1993, adoption of the Agreed Framework between DPRK and the United States in 1994, launching of the man-made satellite "Kwangmyongsong" No. 1 in 1998, publication of the north Korea-US joint statement in Washington in 2000, complete withdrawal from NPT, reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods in 2003 - all these can be said to be political victories of north Korea against the United States.
And considering the adoption of June 15 joint declaration between south and north Korea, the north Korea-Russia joint declaration in 2000, the Moscow joint declaration between north Korea and Russia in 2001 and the Pyongyang declaration between north Korea and Japan in 2002, though being out of the north Korea-US relation, Washington has sustained complete political defeat in the ten-year-long confrontation.
4. Origin of the Songun politics
Kang Min-hwa: The Songun politics began since Chairman Kim Jong Il visited an army unit on January 1, 1995, I know. As north Koreans have the slogan "Let us hold fast the gun to carry out the revolutionary cause pioneered with the gun!" the Songun politics has its deep root, and it is not exaggeration to say that north Korea is unthinkable apart from the Songun politics. In Japan where I live, however, anti-north Korean media abuse the Songun politics as "militarism" and "war preparation" for maintenance of the system. South Koreans, however, began to understand that the north Korean Songun politics is the politics to deter a war in their peninsula and defend the national sovereignty. What is your opinion?
Han Ho-sok: While leading the revolutionary army, President Kim Il Sung waged the armed struggle to defeat the Japanese imperialist invaders and at the same time, led the political movement to unite all the Korean people in the anti-Japanese front. He regarded the gun and politics as an integral whole. He never separated the armed struggle of the revolutionary army from the political struggle of revolutionary organizations, but combined them with each other. He paid prior attention to the armed fight of the revolutionary army, while stirring up the political activities of the revolutionary organizations. The Songun revolution of giving prior importance to the military affairs was initiated by President Kim Il Sung.
His anti-Japanese revolutionary line indicated that the gun and the politics are one in the revolutionary movement and that the gun and the politics combine themselves into a power of struggle with the priority to the gun. Though the anti-Japanese revolution of President Kim Il Sung had not been formulated as the conception of the Songun politics and Songun revolution, he pioneered the path of the Songun revolution.
In this point of view, the mode of the Songun politics and the Songun revolutionary line of Chairman Kim Jong Il are said to have their roots in the President's revolution against Japanese imperialism.
5. The idea of socio-political integrity and Songun politics
The Songun politics of Chairman Kim Jong Il can be viewed from three angles - the theory on modern imperialism, the idea of the socio-political integrity and total reflection upon the historical experiences of the socialist construction, I think. I have explained afore about the inter-relation of the theory on modern imperialism and the Songun politics. Now I will brief about the correlation of the idea on the socio-political integrity and the Songun politics.
As far as I know, Chairman Kim Jong Il has propounded the idea on the socio-political integrity in the mid-1980s. The original idea implies the content that the leader, party and people are combined into an integral whole. I assert that we should contemplate the Songun politics on the basis of the idea on the socio-political integrity.
I do not say that Chairman Kim Jong Il's Songun politics alone has attached primary importance to the military affairs.
Looking back upon the past, the leaders who had built their powerful nations in the world had paid priority to the military affairs. The kings of Ancient Korea and Koguryo, which were known as powerful, prosperous countries in our nation's history, were all military strategists or commanders who attached prior importance to the military affairs.
But the north Korean Songun politics quite differs from those military powers' policies of giving importance to the military affairs. Those military powers in the premodern ages all regarded their armies as tools of war. Imperialists and militarists these days, too, attach importance to the military affairs. But they all maintain the premodern theory of regarding the army as tools of war, that is, as their tools of war of aggression. At most they see the army as a special group for war or as those in charge of the national defense.
But the Songun politics is quite contrary to the premodern theory of regarding the army as a tool of war. By combining the conception of Songun (priority to the army) with that of politics, the Songun politics regards the army not only as the persons in charge of the national defense but as the masters of the politics. The army, together with the people, is the subject of the socialist politics and further the masters guiding the socialist politics. As the north Korean socialist politics combines the leader, party and people into an integral whole, it means that the army takes charge of the guiding role in uniting the leader, the party and the people.
Chairman Kim Jong Il said that the motive forces of the revolution have been strengthened ever more by the Songun politics and new turns have taken place in all domains of the revolution and construction since the soldiers' revolutionary spirit, mettle of struggle and manners of life prevail in the whole society.
6. Historic experiences of the socialist construction and Songun politics
Now I would like to explain the Songun politics from the angle of the historic experience of the socialist construction.
The globalization strategy seeks to force American value upon humankind and abolish the boundary of national language and state sovereignty, so as to globalize the imperialist domination and exploitation. Since the early 1990s, the globalization strategy began to prevail the whole world, which no country can check. Any country and any force that rejected the strategy became the target of US armed invasion without exception. The United States never tolerated any obstacles to its globalization strategy. It is a major foreign policy of the United States.
To my great surprise, however, there is a country that totally rejects the US globalization strategy and thus deals a great blow to Washington's policy of world domination. It is just north Korea. Pyongyang maintains independence by force of the Songun politics and the Songun-based revolution.
What is noticeable is the fact that the Songun politics has been established when the socialism collapsed in the former Soviet Union and other East European countries and the US strategy of globalization prevailed. The promotion of the US globalization strategy was objective condition of the Songun politics. I assert that the Songun politics and the Songun revolution should be viewed from the level of the world out of the bound of the Korean Peninsula.
North Koreans say that the Songun politics appeared to deter imperialist invasion and defend the sovereignty of the entire Korean nation. It is the nation-wide view of the Songun politics. Because the Songun politics appeared in the socio-political reality of the Korean Peninsula and we, who discuss about it, are members of the Korea nation, it is natural to understand the politics on the standpoint of the Korean nation.
On the other hand, north Koreans stress that the Songun politics and the Songun revolution are the universal truth all the countries and all nations seeking after socialism should embody in their socialist revolution and construction. It is the same logic that the Juche idea has the world-wide significance, though it was created in Korea and has national significance. That is why, we should grasp the world significance of the Songun politics, along with its national significance, in order to correctly understand this new political mode.
Some people say abusively, "Why do north Koreans pay priority to the military affairs while going hungry" and "Can the gun feed people". As they say, the gun cannot give people food, of course.
Man and animal have the same generic character of taking meals. If man regards it as his first and foremost thing to have food only, he is little different from animal. What distinguishes man from animal, nay, what makes man a great being incomparable with animal is that man can go hungry for the thing more valuable than the food. Man pursues more valuable thing than the food. Without taking meal man cannot live on. Taking the meal, however, is not the final aim of man.
Even though the gun of the revolutionary army cannot make meal, it can create more valuable thing, and those who have the guns of revolution can create ideological and political life. It is the essence of the Songun idea.
In north Korea, all the people tighten their belts to maintain and strengthen their revolutionary army more and more. North Korea invests the tremendous fund, labor and source in maintaining and consolidating the revolutionary army. I am sure that if the country had distributed some of the fund and labor to the development of the national economy, the people's living would have remarkably bettered than ever.
If the revolutionary state and people do not struggle and live in a revolutionary way with the guns in their hands, their ideological and political life may degenerate and the socialist society may get stagnant or collapse. It is the supreme principle of the Songun politics and the general sum of the historic experiences north Korea has gained in the whole course of the socialist construction. Whether to hold up or put down the gun is not a problem related merely to the military strategy but a supreme political issue deciding the fate of socialism. It is well proved by the fate of the former Soviet Union and east European socialist countries, which had the revolutionary armies but did not do the Songun politics. I think that the view of choosing between the gun (military affairs) and food (economy) in the socialist construction is a superficial view ignorant of the fundamental essence of the socialist politics.
7. Songun politics over the policy of building strong army and the policy of giving priority to the military affairs
Kang Min-hwa: You say the Songun politics of north Korea involves the policy of building the strong army and the policy of giving prior importance to the military affairs, but it is not sufficient to understand the Songun politics. Now I ask you for details.
Han Ho-sok: Some persons comprehend the Songun politics as the policy to build the strong army or the policy of paying priority to the military affairs. It is merely a partial understanding. All the state organizations of the world in all ages have enforced the policy of building their strong armies or the policy of giving priority to the military affairs. The national powers of the countries that neglected the military affairs fell away to ruin, for failing in repulsing the invasions from outside.
If we designate a country that carries on most powerfully the policy paying importance to military affairs, it is no others but the United States.
According to a material, the US Federal Budget of the fiscal 2004 allots $399 billion to the military expenditures. Except the military expenses, the total budget is no more than $348 billion.
In comparison with the US military expenditures amounting to $399 billion, the military expenses of NATO members, Japan, Australia and south Korea, allies of the United States, total up to $225 billion, Russia $65 billion and China $47 billion. And the total amount of military expenditures of the seven countries Americans named as "rogue nations" are only $12 billion. The United States adopted the military expenditures 33 times as much as that of the seven anti-US nations.
It was well known to the world that the US industrial structure is militarized. Apart from the military industry and its allied industries, it is utterly unthinkable about the national industry of the United States. The so-called concept of "military complex" appeared, because the whole of the national industry of the United States has become militarized.
No small part of US TV program mirrors war and military affairs.
Such a militarized state and war state as the United States is attaching great importance to the military affairs. But this country cannot use its armed forces for development of the state and society. Though this country pursues the policy of giving prior importance to the military affairs, it cannot do the Songun politics. It is the essence of the issue. Though both north Korea and the United States attach importance to the military affairs, the Songun politics is possible only in north Korea. Why? Because the policy of giving priority to the military affairs differs from the Songun politics at the level.
The United States and many other countries that pay great importance to the military affairs cannot dream of the Songun Politics, because their armed forces are utterly different with that of north Korea in the character. Both north Korea and the United States pursue the policy of attaching importance to the military affairs. But the army of the former is the revolutionary armed forces taking charge of the socialist politics, whereas that of the latter is the tool of war of aggression.
All those countries that pay prior importance to the military affairs cannot enforce the Songun politics. The Songun politics and the Songun revolution are feasible only in the country that has the revolutionary armed forces. No country destitute of its revolutionary army can do the Songun politics.
And all the socialist state with its revolutionary army cannot do the Songun politics and the Songun revolution. The former Soviet Union and defunct socialist countries in east Europe had their revolutionary armies. But they could not do the Songun politics and Songun revolution. Why? The leaders of those countries did not know the Songun idea, and the ruling parties of those countries could not manage the Songun politics and Songun revolution.
How then should we understand the revolutionary army? As the revolutionary party is the working class party, the revolutionary army is also the army of the working class. To be exact, the revolutionary army is the army of the working class's revolutionary party. The revolutionary army is the master of defense to safeguard the revolutionary state and, at the same time, the guiding master of the socialist politics that revolutionizes the people.
The Songun politics does not do away with the policy of building strong army and the policy of attaching importance to the military affairs, but includes them. Nevertheless, it contains the content over the two policies. The Songun politics should be interpreted as a new mode of the socialist politics, with which the revolutionary leader and revolutionary party have the revolutionary army revolutionize all the people.
8. Songun Politics' Correlation with National Independence and Reunification
Kang: In view of national reunification, I think that such extraordinary changes as the publication of the June 15 joint declaration, progress in north Korea-US relations in the closing days of the Clinton administration and unprecedented surge of the atmosphere of national independence, reconciliation, exchange and cooperation in the wake of the publication of the June 15 declaration are unthinkable without the Songun politics. What is your opinion?
Han: As many people recognize, the adoption of the June 15 joint declaration was a great event that made a turning point in the history of the national reunification movement. This is proved by reality. The inter-Korean joint declaration was adopted in June 2000. It was October 2000 when the north Korea-US relations made a progress in the closing days of the Clinton government.
In view that NDC Chairman Kim Jong Il started the Songun politics in 1995, it can be said that a new turning phase was made in the reunification movement and the north Korea-US relations made a progress five years later.
What is important here is how we should view the period of five years between 1995 and 2000.
In this period north Korea underwent the "Arduous March" and enforced the Songun politics. North Koreans think that they would have been unable to overcome the "Arduous March", but for the Songun politics.
The "Arduous March", with the revolutionary army in the van, was a very difficult one. March means advance of an army. The march with the revolutionary army in the van was not wandering in hardships but an advance through ordeals toward a destination. Then, what was the destination?
Almost all experts and media say that the "Arduous March" of north Korea was aimed to overcome the crisis of collapse and secure the safety of its system. However, they are wrong. If so, it would mean that the Songun politics was to secure the safety of the system.
The "Arduous March" was not targeted at the security of the system. It is equal to the fact that the arduous march, which the revolutionary army led by President Kim Il Sung during the anti-Japanese armed struggle in the 1930s conducted in the deadly cold and hunger, while fighting the Japanese imperialist aggressors, was not aimed at the safety of the revolutionary army. The aim of the march in the 1930s was national liberation, that is, to regain the country deprived by the Japanese imperialists and build a new country for the people. The aim of north Korea's "Arduous March" in the 1990s under the Songun politics was completion of independence, the highest value pursued by socialism.
The universal concept of independence has been interpreted in the peculiar situation of the Korean Peninsula by NDC Chairman Kim Jong Il with the proclamation of building a great prosperous powerful nation. The building of a great prosperous powerful nation means completion of independence of a national state.
In order for the Korean nation to complete independence, it is imperative to reunify the country. As long as the country is divided, independence cannot be completed. The national split forced by outsiders means serious violation of independence.
The system of division impairing the independence of the Korean nation was established by the United States and has been maintained by Washington's policy. Therefore, if the Korean nation fails to settle the relations with the United States on the principle of independence, it cannot overcome the system of division and, unless the country is reunified, independence cannot be realized.
Some people ask why great importance is attached to the north Korea-US relations in discussing the reunification problem. The north Korea-US relationship is essential in discussing the reunification problem because the essence of the reunification problem lies in completing the independence of the nation and it is just the United States which violates the independence.
The "Arduous March" was not a retreating march in food and energy shortages but a victorious advance to fundamentally change the north Korea-US relations with the revolutionary army in the van. If the north Korea-US relations change fundamentally, a drastic change will be made in the relationship between the Korean nation and the United States and, accordingly, the Korean nation will be able to realize national reunification and independence. The "Arduous March" was a march of the Songun politics which pursued the highest aim of the nation to accomplish the cause of national independence and reunification.
As north Korea carried out the march of Songun politics despite of all hardships for five years between 1995 and 2000, there was a change in north Korea-US relations and the June 15 joint declaration was adopted, opening a new turning phase in the history of the national reunification movement.
So, Kim Jong Il declared that north Korea will build a great prosperous powerful nation on this land and accomplish the cause of national reunification by adhering to the idea of attaching importance to the arms and providing the Songun politics.
9. Struggle between Socialism and Imperialism and Songun Politics
Kang: The Rodong Sinmun dated March 21 carried an article of its editorial department, titled "Songun ideology is an ever-victorious banner of the cause of independence in our era." Noting that the Songun ideology is the great guiding principle of the revolution in the 21st century reflecting the requirement of the present times, it said that the present is an era in which a life and death struggle is unfolded between socialism and imperialism, the independent forces and dominationist forces. The Bush government of the United States, openly revealing its imperialist nature, has dragged the world into tension and anxiety and created the worst ever situation in and around the Korean Peninsula. How do you think will the "life-or-death struggle" between them develop in the future?
Han: The north Korea-US relation cannot be called a relationship between a state and a state in general meaning. It is a relation between socialism and imperialism. Socialism and imperialism cannot stand together both theoretically and practically. The relation between socialism and imperialism, which is not a relation of peaceful co-existence, will end in either side's fall and the other's rise through an acute struggle. This might be the reason why north Korea used the expression of "life and death struggle".
The question of life and death between socialism and imperialism is a fatal problem in north Korea-US relations and for humankind as well. If north Korea is defeated in the confrontation with the United States, socialism will perish and imperialism will prevail in the globe. According to north Koreans, socialism is a revolutionary idea for realizing man's independence and a realistic science. They say that socialism is an ideal and value pursued by humankind. Therefore, the collapse of socialism means end of humankind for north Korea.
North Korea is sure that socialism will win an ultimate victory in the struggle against imperialism. Regarding the frustration of socialism as the end of socialism, almost all people think that the remaining socialism will come to an end too. However, north Korea asserts that such a prediction lacks socio-historical judgment. According to its opinion, socialism is alive in the idea and conscience of humankind, though socialism was frustrated, and it will be immortal as long as humankind is alive. This means that the frustration of socialism is a temporary vicissitude, not the end of socialism. In view of the long history of humankind, socialism is not being isolated and weakened but winning a victory and modern imperialism is not on the rise but on the decline. Such a viewpoint of north Korea on the victory of socialism and demise of imperialism is not a subjective argument or fatalism of socialists but predication of the objective law governing the development of social history.
The struggle between socialism and imperialism, though being unfolded throughout the world, is being staged most concentratively and fiercely on the Korean Peninsula. The heaviest burden of the struggle is on north Korea. The struggle between socialism and imperialism is being unfolded in the course of settling the north Korean nuclear issue. The north Korea-US political talks for settling the nuclear issue form an aspect of the life and death struggle between socialism and imperialism. The nuclear issue is the cuticle and the struggle between socialism and imperialism is the substance.
Analyzing the north Korea-US relations between 1993 and 2003 in my previous treatises, I noted that north Korea, though it had undergone vicissitudes, won victory in the struggle against the United States in that period. I would not repeat the contents.
Then, how will the north Korea-US relations develop for the coming ten years between 2003 and 2013? On the basis of analyzing the past 10-year long history of the relations, I foresee that the coming ten years too will witness north Korea's victory and US defeat.
10. Struggle against Anti-Reunification Forces
Kang: It has been stated that the struggle for carrying out the June 15 joint declaration accompanies the struggle against the anti-reunification forces in south Korea and the forces are masterminded by the United States. They raised a fuss about "payment to the north" as if there had been payoff before the inter-Korean summit and drove Chung Mong-hun, chairman of the Hyundai Asan, who had made meritorious deeds for national reunification, to death. It is asserted both in the south and the north that Chung's death cannot be regarded as suicide. What do you think about the background and truth of the incident?
Han: For the Korean nation divided into two by outside forces, reunification is a fatal problem. It is a serious matter deciding the life and death of the nation.
The Koreans have a very strong vitality. From ancient times, they refused to be absorbed or assimilated by other nations that had appeared in Northeast Asia and defended their existence and achieved national development independently. If they had a weak vital power, they would have been unable to maintain their existence, to say nothing of national development. This nation with strong vitality has been divided owing to the outsiders' divide-and-rule policy. How painful for them to live separated!
As an organism forcibly bisected by outside force reunites and becomes an organism with stronger vitality, the Korean nation divided by outside forces will accomplish the cause of reunification without fail and appear in the arena of history as a strong independent power.
Nowadays, the anti-reunification forces become more outrageous because their existence is faced with a crisis. They will lose their existence if the country is reunified. Reunification means death for them. If the country is reunified, they will have to escape to Japan or the United States. So, they are desperately opposed to the country's reunification.
Even a child knows that the most vicious anti-reunification force in south Korea is the Grand National Party. In pursuit of its interest and strategy, the GNP, a group of vicious politicians, is stubbornly opposed to the cause of national reunification and even the pro-reunification work for national reconciliation and cooperation. Offering opposition to the reunification movement forces and the forces seeking after reconciliation and cooperation, it continues to dash this way and rush that in the political circles.
11. View on the Death of Chung Mong-hun
The death of Chairman Chung Mong-hun vividly showed what harm the outrageous acts of the anti-reunification forces give to the forces seeking reconciliation and cooperation. His death is a political incident produced by the contradictory relations between the anti-reunification forces and the reconciliation and cooperation forces. He was put under concentrated fire of the separatist forces, while working for reconciliation and cooperation true to the June 15 joint declaration.
The reunification movement forces of south Korea have a strong vital power as they have gone through all sorts of trials, struggling against the harsh suppression by the military fascist regimes since the mid-1980s. They have rich experience of struggle against the anti-reunification forces, organizing ability and popular foundation. Not so are the reconciliation and cooperation forces. Formed after the publication of the June 15 joint declaration, they have neither experience of struggle against the anti-reunification forces, nor organizing ability, nor popular support. Therefore, they have little ability to cope with the outrages of the separatist forces. The Grand National Party dealt a concentrated blow to the weak forces, a victim of which was the late Chung.
In view of the fact that he tried to carry out the tasks of reconciliation and cooperation stipulated in the June 15 joint declaration in the economic domain, the late Chung was a conscientious capitalist. Either in the class view of workers exploited by capitalists or in the light of the labor movement against the capitalist class, one may ask whether a capitalist has conscience. However, we should know two facts.
First, nobody can deny the fact that the capitalist class, as a social group, is a hostile class exploiting the workers and other people. However, there are individual capitalists who have national conscience, though they belong to the exploiting class.
National conscience that I say means a moral feature based on a high sense of responsibility to realize independence of the social collective called the nation. The national conscience required by the contemporary age is manifested by socio-political actions to implement the June 15 joint declaration for independence and reunification of the nation.
During the Japanese imperialists' colonial rule over Korea in the past, there was the Korean landlord class that fawned upon Japanese imperialists to exploit the people. In special cases, however, there were landowners who positively supported the national liberation movement. If they can be called conscientious landlords, the capitalists who support the June 15 joint declaration and strive for inter-Korean economic cooperation can be called conscientious capitalists.
During the Japanese colonial rule the Korean landlord class was a hostile power opposed to the national liberation movement. However, it was a leftist mistake ruining the national liberation movement to be hostile to and charge even those landlords who positively supported the movement. To look back upon the history of national liberation movement during the Japanese colonial rule, the leftist mistakes exerted more harmful influence on the national liberation movement than the rightist mistakes did.
In dealing with individual figures in the reunification movement today, we should not absolutize their class position but take their national conscience as the standard for judgment. In all strategies and tactics of the social renovation movement the class status cannot be the one and only principle and absolute standard.
Second, the reunification movement forces should wage an uncompromising struggle against the vicious capitalists who are stubbornly opposed to reunification, but lead the conscientious capitalists, who recognize the June 15 joint declaration and strive for its implementation, to perform a part of the work for economic cooperation, not viewing their class limitation only and rejecting them as a hostile class. This is a way to realize reconciliation, cooperation and reunification true to the June 15 joint declaration.
If the class hostility were absolutized, it would have been impossible to produce the June 15 joint declaration. If the class hostility is absolutized, while negating the significance of the joint declaration, great national unity and reunification through federation cannot be realized.
In south Korea there are some capitalists who support the joint declaration and promote inter-Korean economic cooperation. In foreign countries, too, there are capitalists who support the declaration and push ahead with the economic cooperation, not to speak of the patriotic businesspersons under the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan. To have those with money donate money to the cause of national reunification is a very important task in the nationwide movement for carrying out the June 15 joint declaration.
12. The Situation Requires Practicians, Not Spectators
Kang: In conclusion, what about talking about the prospect? Despite of the complicated situation, the August 15 national rally for peace and reunification was successfully held in Pyongyang with the participation of compatriots from the south, north and abroad, demonstrating to the world the nation's will for realizing national independence and reunification under the banner of the June 15 joint declaration. Though the situation is complicated, I think reunification is the current of the times.
I think that all of us, true to the joint declaration which stipulates that all the nationals are the masters of reunification, should not sit as spectators to the situation but fight the imperialists wielding "strength", their followers and other anti-reunification forces, achieve reunification and defend the nation's dignity and sovereignty.
Han: You are right. The situation changes and develops according to the correlation between the objective law governing the practical change and the internal force.
In their correlation, however, the two factors do not always act equally. It is certain that the internal force plays a major role in the correlation. Therefore, we should grasp the correlation with the internal force in the center.
Such a viewpoint is not a subjective but Juche-based standpoint. Subjectivism is a mistake, whereas the Juche-based standpoint is a science.
The scientific viewpoint on the change and development of situation can be established by the Juche-based standpoint. The Juche-based standpoint is a viewpoint of understanding the situation on the basis of the active role and duty of the internal force. The situation changes and develops in conformity with the requirement and aspiration of the internal force according to its active role and duty. If the internal force does not perform its role and duty, the situation can hardly change and develop in accordance with its requirement and aspiration.
The situation of the Korean Peninsula will develop according to the role and duty of the internal force of the Korean nation.
Then, how is the internal force of the Korean nation performing its role and duty? This can be explained in external and internal aspects. Externally, it finds expression in the fact that Pyongyang leads the north Korea-US political talks, putting hard pressure on Washington to reduce it to submission, and the national democratic movement forces of south Korea are unfolding the anti-US movement for independence to drive out the US forces. Though the ruling quarters of the United States and Japan resort to defiant and obstructive maneuvers, normalization of north Korea-US relations and withdrawal of the US troops from south Korea are becoming an irresistible tendency of the times. Such a development of situation was unimaginable in the past.
Internally, all classes and strata of the Korean nation are pushing ahead with national reconciliation, exchange and cooperation true to the June 15 joint declaration. Their movement for reconciliation, exchange and cooperation to implement the joint declaration has become an irresistible current of the times despite of the obstructive and outrageous maneuvers of the anti-reunification forces in south Korea. Such changes and development were unthinkable before the publication of the June 15 joint declaration.
Such changes and development of the situation on the Korean Peninsula were accompanied by the bloody struggle of the internal force of the nation to brave through many obstacles and difficulties created both internally and externally.
Some people, however, though witnessing such unimaginable changes and development of the situation, have a pessimistic view of the prospect of the situation. This is because they have not the Juche-based viewpoint.
As long as the internal force performs an active role and duty, the future of the situation is optimistic. Pessimistic viewing of the situation without the Juche-based viewpoint is unscientific, whereas optimistic viewing of the situation on the Juche-based standpoint is scientific.
We, the driving force of the reunification movement, should view the prospect of the cause of national reunification in an optimistic way on the Juche-based standpoint, further enhance our role and perform our duty more positively. The situation of the Korean Peninsula requires practicians, not spectators. (Sept. 8, 2003)