| North Korea`s state-run news agencies reported Monday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an important decision at an expanded meeting of the Central Military Commission. In February this year, Kim said similar words at the same meeting, and a few days later the North carried out the third nuclear test. However, since North Korea is unlikely to make military provocations in the current situation, Kim might have decided to strengthen leadership of the Workers` Party on the North Korean People`s Army.
On the anniversary of the military-first doctrine on Sunday, Kim said the leadership of the Workers` Party is essential for the North Korean People`s Army and that the two are inseparable. He also said the party is the staff of revolution and that military and the people have to be knot into one around the party. This means that he will shift the national affairs management stance from "military-first" to "party-first."
The Workers` Party had been the top power leading and controlling the nation, society and military since the late former leader Kim Il Sung. As the Kim Jong Un regime began, however, the military-first policy was the guiding ideology. Kim Jong Il harshly criticized the incompetence and corruption of the party as the country suffered from massive floods and poverty. After taking control of military, the sole usable resource, Kim maintained the regime and had military grew ever stronger under his aegis.
The emphasis on the party is a sign of recovery to a normal governance by using the party as a system. Personnel reshuffle of dismissing military chief Ri Yong Ho and Chief General Staff Chief of Hyon Yong Chul`s degradation of two notches are movements to weigh down the military. People`s Army politburo director Choe Ryong Hae, who is the current top military heavyweight, is not of the military clique.
Though North Korea has not explicitly abolished the military-first line, it is a good sign that there is change going on. Under the military-first doctrine, North Korea made so many provocations against the South. The country should shift to reform by abandoning an empty dream of dual policy of nuclear and economic development. North Korea will have future only when it ditches military-first stance and embraces world order. It can also return to the international stage only when it makes a substantial decision to give up its nuclear weapons programs and push forward reform and opening-up.