Monday, September 08, 2008

September 9th marks North Korea’s 60th Anniversary

The 60th anniversary of North Korea’s communist regime will be marked by a series of large-scale ceremonies to take place in and outside Pyongyang.

Prior to North Korea’s independence declaration on September 9, 1948, then leader Kim Il Sung founded the North Korean People’s Army first to unify the Korean Peninsula under communism. From its birth, the communist regime put priority on military power, something which got strengthened when Kim Jong Il took over after his father died in 1994.

The North’s top military brass forms the inner circle of the regime and enjoys a host of privileges. This military priority, however, deprives North Koreans of food and accordingly imposes hardships on them such as chronic malnutrition and starvation. According to the U.N. relief agency, today more than 60 percent of North Koreans, mostly in unprivileged demographic regions, subsist on two meals a day. In other words, the situation is worse there than in Bangladesh.

North Korea has maintained a military machine consisting of 1.2 million active solders and 1.8 million reserve forces which takes more than 60 percent of the country’s budget. Pyongyang has also spent billions of dollars to develop nuclear weapons. Had the regime bought food with the money, it could have fed its people.

[Dong-a Ilbo]

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