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N.Korea Changing ‘Military-First’ Policy

Posted March. 12, 2008 08:10,   


North Korea’s decade-old “military-first” policy is changing as the communist country’s army is seeing reduced power.

A knowledgeable source on North Korea said yesterday, “[Leader] Kim Jong Il has ordered the military to transfer its foreign operations to his cabinet and is implementing radical reform of military authorities.”

Kim ordered to reduce the number of executives and the size of the ruling Workers’ Party, government and military by 30 percent at the end of last year.

The source also said officers in the chain of command including the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, the National Security Council, the Ministry of State Inspection and the General Staff Department began retiring in January.

The North Korean leader is also reportedly streamlining troop distribution. The North’s Border Guard Brigade has removed regiments and the role of the minting agency has shrunk.

The Ministry of People’s Security, considered the North’s main police organization, is seeing its status rise. No longer under the control of the prosecution, the ministry can now probe corruption in the prosecution and civilian damage caused by the military.

Pyongyang is also toughening up public discipline. A revision to the penal code was announced on March 1, only the sixth after the establishment of the North Korean government in 1948.

An article in one law says a person possessing 300 grams or more of a narcotic will be executed. Other articles have toughened penalties for newer crimes such as making a call abroad, smuggling and having foreign video programs.