North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Pot’ong River Project Completed

A view of embankment work on Pot’ong River in central Pyongyang (Photo: KCNA)

DPRK state media reported on 20 October (Saturday) that Korean People’s Army [KPA] service members, assisted by employees of DPRK Government ministries, the Pyongyang City (municipal) Korean Workers’ Party [KWP] Committee, the Pyongyang City (municipal) People’s Committee and other Pyongyang institutions, completed dredging and construction work on the Pot’ong River in Pyongyang.  The river improvement project began on 11 October, following a similar project at the Hapjang River in the city’s Ryongso’ng District.  According to KCNA workers “removed more than 780 000 cubic meters of sludge from the bottom of the river and improved embankment of more than 90 000 square meters in a matter of 9 days” and “removed over 330 000 cubic meters of sludge in just 24 hours after the kick-off of the project.”  KCNA also reported that “excavator and truck drivers finished the dredging and sludge transport plans in the sixth day.”

A view of the Pot’ong River after dredging and construction work (Photo: KCNA)

A retaining wall, completed as part of an improvement project of the Pot’ong River in Pyongyang (Photo: KCNA)

The Pot’ong River with the Ryugyong Hotel in the background (Photo: KCNA)

The Pot’ong River Improvement Project was reminiscent of a 1970s-era “speed battle” in which a cross section of the DPRK population were mobilized to complete infrastructure projects and other development work.  The river improvement project was initially conducted by KPA units, however it seems that DPRK civilians were brought in as additional labor following a visit and inspection by DPRK Cabinet Premier Choe Yong Rim.  Recent editorials in the DPRK press have called upon KWP members, KPA service members and officers and cadres to demonstrate “the fighting ethos” and “ardor and vigor” of the 1970s.”  A Rodong Sinmun editorial published in early October said that “all sectors and all units must powerfully carry out the struggle to gloriously conclude this year’s general onward march with the fighting spirit and ethos of the 1970s” and that “all party members, soldiers** of the people’s army, and people must bear deep in mind the lofty intent of our party to make this meaningful year shine as a year of great victory and change and fan the flames of great innovation, great march, so they can flare up powerfully.  The must make the ardor, the fighting spirit, and the vigor of the 1970s–in which they were making the sound of drums resound loudly and bringing about a great upsurge in the battle of great socialist construction–be powerfully and vigorously displayed.”

The spirit of the 1970s can be found in parts of an essay aired on Pyongyang radio [Korean Central Broadcasting Station; KCBS] on 10 June 1978 calling for victory in the 100-day battle of the 2nd Seven-Year Plan said, “Indeed, for functionaries and workers to more highly display the revolutionary spirit of Mount Paektu, of Chollima and of the speed-battle is the key to their victory in revolutionary struggle and construction. Therefore, we should display this militant spirit more highly than ever before to effectively carry out the unprecedentedly large-sclae plan of the 100-day battle.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s