The United Nations has estimated that one-fourth of North Korea’s 24 million people need outside food aid and that malnutrition is surging, especially among children.
“Glorify this year 2012 as a year of proud victory, a year when an era of prosperity is unfolding,” the New Year’s message said.
“The whole party, the entire army and all the people should possess a firm conviction that they will become human bulwarks and human shields in defending Kim Jong-un unto death.”
In South Korea, the term “Kremlinology” is already in wide use among foreign policy specialists.
They closely monitored the officials accompanying Kim Jong-un beside his father’s hearse during the funeral procession last week. The South Korean media called the funeral entourage “the Gang of Seven.”
The man who marched behind Kim Jong-un is Jang Song-thaek, 65, vice chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission, the currently leaderless body from which Kim Jong-il took his title, chairman.
Pallbearers included Defense Minister Kim Yong-chun and Army Chief of Staff Ri Yong-ho, who is thought to be Kim Jong-un’s military tutor.
Two fellow officers by the hearse were more sinister figures: Gens. U Dong-guk and Kim Jong-gak.
Gen. U, of the State Security Department, is behind the regime's formidable spy agency.
Gen. Kim Jong-gak, of the Army’s General Political Bureau, pledged the allegiance of the armed forces to Kim Jong-un during Thursday’s memorial ceremony in what may have been a veiled threat. His bureau monitors officers’ loyalty.
The seven were rounded out by party secretaries Kim Ki-nam and Choe Tae-bok.View Entire Story
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