This paper is the fourth installment of the “Understanding Kim Jong Un’s Economic Policymaking” series. It tackles what has been the heart of Kim’s economic policy initiatives from the very start of his time in power—an effort to revive the North Korean economy by changing in both the enterprise and agricultural sectors the incentive and responsibility structures which had previously put enormous power in the hands of the central state and party bureaucracy.
Making these changes would not be easy, and Pyongyang faced numerous practical and ideological challenges along the way. Kim appears to have approached these policy initiatives carefully and systematically, though as is always the case, the fine details of implementation at the real operational levels had to be worked out as theory and plan met realities on the ground. The North’s two key economic journals—Kyo’ngje Yo’ngu and the Journal of Kim Il Sung University (Economics) (also known as Hakpo)—provide important insights into how this process evolved, and at least an indirect look at the various perspectives on what the policies meant and the difficulties they faced.
Kim’s “report” at a party plenum in March 2013 is best remembered for his proclamation of the byungjin policy of simultaneous economic and nuclear-armed forces construction. But we often forget that it was at this meeting that Kim officially defined and offered broad guidelines on “economic management methods of our style,”—reforms intended to pick up and build on his father’s “July 1 [reform] measures” from 2002. The plenum also marked the first time Kim explicitly endorsed “socialist enterprise management methods,” which would later become known as the “socialist enterprise responsibility management system (SERMS),” the hallmark of Kim’s reform that gives individual enterprises greater latitude in planning, production, and management of resources and profits.
At that March plenum, Kim said:
[We] should research and perfect economic management methods of our style in line with the demands of reality’s development. Economic management methods of our style that materialize the Juche idea should be socialist enterprise management methods that ensure the producer masses fulfill their roles and responsibilities as masters of production and management. [This should be done] by firmly adhering to the socialist ownership of the means of production, and with all enterprises carrying out their business activities independently and creatively under the state’s unified guidance.
As early as March 2012—only months after Kim Jong Un had assumed power—North Korean state media started referring to “economic management methods of our style that materialize the Juche idea,” indicating that reform measures were already being researched and formulated under that rubric. In his New Year’s speech in 2013, Kim gave his first official nod to reform by mentioning the need to “steadily improve and perfect the methods of economic management.” The further guidelines he provided at the party plenum two months later laid the groundwork for the media and academic journals to disseminate and expound on the ideas and principles of the new reforms.
There is good evidence that economic reform was at the top of Kim’s agenda when he ascended to power. It seems likely that these ideas were being discussed even before Kim Jong Il died in December 2011. According to Pyongyang’s unofficial mouthpiece Choso’n Sinbo, Kim Jong Un presented guidelines on reform to economic officials and academics at the end of 2011, presumably right after Kim Jong Il’s funeral. The Cabinet, research institutions and economic sectors then went through a process of conducting research, holding discussions, proposing ideas and introducing viable proposals to farms and enterprises on a trial basis—and once they passed the test, implementing them on a national level. Accordingly, North Korea in 2012 started giving greater management rights to some plants, enterprises, and cooperative farms on a trial basis. By February 2014, Kim was ready to announce incentivized farming (detailed below under “Agriculture”). In a private talk with party, state and army officials on May 30, 2014, Kim formalized the three main pillars of “economic management methods of our style”: 1) the state’s unified guidance of the economy and strategic management, 2) correct implementation of SERMS within the parameters of the socialist economy, and 3) the party’s leadership over economic work.
North Korean academic journals launched a campaign on economic management in the summer of 2013, shortly after Kim’s March plenum report. In the beginning, the articles focused on explaining the basic principles of economic management methods, stressing the importance of researching and perfecting them. The articles then moved on to the three main points of the Kim Jong Un-led “economic management methods of our style.” SERMS was mentioned for the first time in a Hakpo article at the end of 2014, but it was not until the spring of 2018, after North Korea shifted from byungjin to a policy focusing on the economy and as the country was embarking on a path of diplomacy, that the journals started discussing SERMS and its specific aspects in earnest.
Drawing Lines of Responsibility
One writer in Kyo’ngje Yo’ngu described SERMS as follows:
SERMS is an enterprise management method of our style and is the most superior economic management method. It enables plants, enterprises, and cooperative organizations to carry out their duties before the party and state by conducting enterprise activities creatively with the actual right of management, based on the public ownership of the means of production. It also enables the producer masses to fulfill their roles and responsibilities as masters of production and management.
Management rights, creativity and initiative of enterprises are the central components of SERMS, and naturally, they are the most consistently touted themes in North Korean academic articles on economic management. The fundamental question North Korean academic journals have grappled with over the years is exactly how much responsibility central institutions, namely the state and party, should cede to individual units.
The key principles and concepts associated with economic management, such as SERMS, do not appear to have evolved over time. Different articles and authors, however, have taken different positions on or emphasized different aspects of the same concepts. For example, some authors stressed lower units’ management rights and de-emphasized the Cabinet’s management responsibility, while others did the opposite. Sometimes two different authors writing for the same volume of the same journal took slightly opposing views on the dynamic of state and lower units’ responsibility.
In 2015, when the push for reform was in full swing, one author in Kim Il Sung University’s Hakpo explained:
In our country, the Cabinet has the responsibility and power to manage the country’s overall economic work in a unified manner under the party’s leadership. The Cabinet entrusts and grants some of its responsibilities and powers to committees, ministries, and provincial people’s committees…As a result, responsibilities and powers are distributed vertically from the center down to the lowest executive unit.
This same article then advised central organs like the Cabinet against trying to control A to Z, calling on them to focus only on big national projects and delegate the rest to lower units:
Central economic guidance organs grasping down to the last detail all the issues arising in the management of the provinces, lower organs, and enterprises and guiding them cannot be the way to truly strengthen the state’s centralistic and unified guidance today, when the size of the economy has increased, and the environment for and conditions of economic construction assume a highly fluid nature.
In order to actually strengthen centralistic guidance in line with the changing environment and conditions, [we] need to improve the dynamic of distributing responsibilities and powers so that central economic guidance organs can concentrate their efforts on solving the strategic tasks for socioeconomic development. Ministries and central organs should directly take hold of those economic sectors and units that have national significance, such as central industries, and guide and manage them under the Cabinet’s guidance.
[We] should have complexes take full responsibility for and tackle immediate production issues.
A rather different view—emphasizing the party’s leadership and calling on the Cabinet to provide guidance “down to the last detail”—was put forward by Cho Ung-chu, a prolific writer on key North Korean economic policies for Kyo’ngje Yo’ngu and Hakpo, at the end of 2020. This was shortly before the Eighth Party Congress, where North Korea hinted that reforms were still on track but emphasized stronger centralization and control:
How the economic construction line and policies are implemented after the party puts them forward hinges on whether the Cabinet carries out its role properly or not. With the spirit of [believing in] the absoluteness and the unconditionality of the party’s line and policies, the Cabinet must carry on the economic organization work down to the last detail and strengthen guidance on economic work. Instead of stopping at conveying new policies to lower units when the party brings them forward, the Cabinet should give assignments to lower units after deeply carrying out research and finding concrete methods of implementation, and help them out well, all the while regularly receiving reports on and inspecting the state of their execution.
Notably, the same year-end Kyo’ngje Yo’ngu volume in 2020 published a different author’s article on SERMS that emphasized lower-level units’ rights, similar to the 2015 Hakpo article.
Furthermore, leading state economic organs, including the Cabinet, must remove unnecessary procedures and institutions to enable enterprises to carry out business activities smoothly and establish decisive measures to find without exception the factors that put the brakes on production activities and reduce work efficiency in state management and economic work, rather than trying to seize everything or chaining up lower units for no reason in the name of providing unified guidance of economic work.
Central Control Versus Reform
It should be noted that the unified guidance of the state, namely the Cabinet and leading economic institutions, and the party’s leadership, have been an innate part of Kim’s reform policy that was centered on giving greater management rights to lower units. Accordingly, it is not surprising to find references to the state’s unified guidance or the party’s leadership in any journal article about economic management, including articles endorsing reform. Hence, the appearances of these formulations alone do not signal North Korea’s hardening economic line or rolling back on reform.
When trying to determine whether there is a shift in Pyongyang’s economic line, what really matters is the context in which certain terms are used, as well as patterns of their usage. For example, continued emphasis of the state’s or party’s control—particularly the party’s, as it traditionally has stood for conservative economic policies—could be a signal that Pyongyang is headed toward greater centralization, though that does not necessarily translate into curtailing reform initiatives. Despite North Korea’s emphasis on the role of the state and party in the economy in the lead-up to and following the Eighth Party Congress, it continues to seek ways to research, improve, and perfect “economic management methods,” suggesting reform initiatives are still on.
Finding the right balance between central control and lower-level units’ independence was a major question for Pyongyang, and it clearly remains so, as demonstrated by the different viewpoints on responsibility outlined above. This dilemma is aptly captured in one of the early Kyo’ngje Yo’ngu articles on economic management from April 2014, as research and test-runs were still in full swing and Kim Jong Un was gearing up to formalize the “economic management methods of our style” with his officials:
If [we] were to view just one side of the state’s unified guidance as absolute and unilaterally strengthen it, [we] could bind up the hands and feet of every enterprise and suppress its independence and creativity from being displayed in business activities. Conversely, if [we] were to over-emphasize every enterprise’s independence and creativity, [we] would not be able to guarantee the unity and balanced development of the overall economic development of the country. Not only that, [we] could trigger grave consequences like disrupting the country’s entire economy or inciting capitalism by corrupting and degenerating the essence of the socialist economy.
What is important in correctly combining the state’s unified guidance with the independence and creativity of every enterprise’s business activity is to give priority to guaranteeing the state’s unified guidance in line with the intrinsic requirements of a socialist society and, based on this, have all enterprises actively display independence and creativity in their business activities. Only then will the entire socialist economy, as a large-scale economic organism, be managed and operated in line with the common demands and interests of the producer masses. And only then will it be a true economic management method of our style that ensures they [enterprises] fulfill their roles and responsibilities as masters.
As noted above, in 2012, very soon after coming to power, Kim Jong Un experimented with new ideas on agriculture policy, testing the theory that the way to increase harvests was to give the farmers more material incentive to produce. By February 2014, after further study and a period of trial implementation at selected farms, Kim was ready to promulgate a new policy, which he presented in a letter to a national meeting of agricultural sub-workteam leaders. In the letter, Kim noted:
Recently, a measure has been taken to implement the plot responsibility system within the sub-workteam management systems to raise the production enthusiasm of farm members. Cooperative farms should apply this system correctly in line with their own actual conditions and make it prove its worth in agricultural production.
The sub-workteam was not a new concept, but Kim rejiggered it to support his efforts to increase farmers’ motivation through the “plot responsibility system,” designed to give small teams of farmers both the responsibility and the reward for increasing production on a plot of land which was, essentially, no longer under the complete control of the larger cooperative but was theirs to farm, to improve, and to share directly in the results. This was more complex and far-reaching than it might first appear, since—at least theoretically—it meant diluting long-established lines of authority and the basis for collective work and collective responsibility.
The new policy was justified as an extension and an improvement on the agricultural policies of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. These, it was argued, were being updated and “improved” to meet the needs of the “current reality,” a well-worn rhetorical cloak to avoid the appearance of seeming to reject previous, seemingly sacrosanct policies as mistakes. If not read carefully, outside observers often read this approach as reinforcing the old policy prescriptions rather than what they really are: an effort to strike off in new directions.
Initially, reaction in Kyo’ngje Yo’ngu and Hakpo to Kim’s new agricultural program was supportive—hardly a surprise. But then signs of pushback began to appear. As usual, none of these confronted the new policies head-on. Instead, criticism was veiled, seemingly not criticism at all, or ostensibly pointed elsewhere.
The first signs of opposition came in a Kyo’ngje Yo’ngu article a few months after Kim unveiled his new policies. The article might have been nothing more than a routine paean to Kim Il Sung’s previous theories on agriculture, except that it focused exclusively on the elder Kim and failed to mention Kim Jong Un’s new policies. In the context of the times, that silence spoke volumes.
The following year, things heated up as a battle over the new sub-workteam and plot responsibility concepts broke out in the pages of the journals, a battle that lasted into 2018. Articles praising and explaining in more detail the concepts supported the new policies as a way to meet the “demands of developing reality” and a way to meet and even exceed the country’s grain production goals by increasing the motivation of farmers. Left free to pursue their own best interest, the argument went, the farmers would end up benefitting the country overall. For example, Kim Kyo’ng-il in early 2015 argued:
The methods of guiding and managing a socialist economy cannot be set in stone, and they should be improved continuously in line with the changing conditions and environment. If [we] fail to improve economic management methods in line with the changing and developing reality and they are tied down to a fixed framework, [we] cannot promote economic development. Rather, this could obstruct economic and social progress.
In response, while avoiding any explicit mention of the new policies, articles in opposition escalated to fierce warnings about the fate of socialism decades earlier after what was portrayed as the poison of “revisionists”—an exceptionally dirty word in these sorts of arguments—undermined the Eastern bloc countries, putting them on the slippery slope to capitalism. Through this historical dodge, these articles sliced away at the very rationales used by those supporting the new policies. Where the authors in support—indeed, Kim Jong Un himself—cast the new policies as an improvement by meeting changing realities, the conservatives pounced, casting this as the very song “revisionists” had sung in the 1960s in the Soviet Union and, to some extent, even the North at that time.
A 2015 Hakpo article warned: “Moreover, starting from illusions about capitalism, they found in capitalist market economies an exit to the resolution of economic issues and pressed ahead with the ‘restructuring’ and ‘reform’ policies of reviving private ownership and establishing market economic systems.” Criticizing the “revisionists” for enabling various forms of ownership to coexist under public ownership “on the pretext that the ownership dynamics already established in socialist countries did not measure up to the actual levels of progress in productivity,” the article continued: “In other words, they blabbered that private, household, and small-group ownership should be linked to public ownership, and that diverse forms of mixed ownership, such as state-cooperative ownership, state-private ownership, state-capitalist ownership, and cooperative-private ownership, should be encouraged.”
A Ky’ongje Yo’ngu article at the end of 2015 kept up the criticism, pointedly attacking any move to more individual responsibility:
The socialist rural economic system is based on collectivism, the lifeline of a socialist society, and puts forward the agricultural working people and masses as the masters of production and management. Only by applying a guidance method that can strengthen group unity and cooperation based on socialist and collectivist principles can the socialist rural economic system be defended and adhered to, and can its superiority be fully displayed. If individualistic production and management methods are allowed or draw into the socialist rural economy, it will bring about essential changes to the socialist rural economic system and make it impossible to continuously develop agricultural productivity…
Guidance on the rural economy is not simply administrative and technical work. It should be carried out on the basis of making sure that all farming work is done responsibly. This should be done by strengthening ideological remolding work and political work aimed at displaying management functionaries’ and cooperative farm members’ mental strength and creative power to the maximum, educating them, and increasing their revolutionary ardor and creative activity with the consciousness befitting masters…
Having [management functionaries and cooperative farm members] cherish political evaluation more than material evaluation and consciously rise up to increase production and improve business activities—this is indeed the demand of socialist principles and should be the fundamental core for improving agricultural guidance…
However, in a socialist society, which is based on public ownership of the means of production, the masters of production and management and the masters of economic activities are not individuals but the popular masses, a social group united in one with the state serving as the unit. From this, all economic activities in a socialist society are carried out to materialize the economic demands and interests of the popular masses, and the profits [ridu’k; 리득] generated in reality as a result [of all economic activities]—the actual economic profits—are actual profits [silli; 실리].
Perhaps the most pointed, almost brazen attack on the new economic policy lines—no doubt aimed at SERMS as much as plot responsibility—appeared in a two-part 2018 Kyo’ngje Yo’ngu series by Kim U’ng-ch’o’n, the first appearing in Volume 2 entitled “Modern Revisionist Theories That Distort the Essence of Socialist Ownership,” and the second in Volume 3 entitled “Birth of Modern Revisionism and Its Origin.” This final article, published after the party plenum in April had declared a “new strategic line” of “everything for the economy,” was almost brazen in its criticism:
[Khrushchev] seized power in the party and state through a conspiratorial method. Next, he called for the establishment of so-called “new lines,” saying that Stalin’s lines and policies must be reexamined on the pretext of how “the times have changed.”
The criticism of Khrushchev was hardly new, nor were the warnings of the danger of a successor steering a revolution off track. The latter had been a major theme in the immediate aftermath of Kim Il Sung’s death in July 1994. But the revival of that line, especially in the context of developments since 2012, strongly suggests that Kim Jong Un, just as his father had with his new economic policy initiatives in 2002, faced headwinds from pockets of orthodoxy somewhere in the leadership.
This opposition, however, does not seem to have had significant effect. In December 2016, Kim Jong Un reiterated his support for the plot responsibility system, ordering that it “should be introduced as intended by the Party, so as to enhance the sense of responsibility and enthusiasm for production on the part of the agricultural workers.” Subsequently, in visits to the countryside by the premier, there were frequent mentions of plot responsibility as well as positive, detailed articles in Rodong Sinmun. One article in the party daily even suggested that the policy was reaching down to the farm household level.
At the same time, it was obvious that not all was easy in terms of implementation at the local level. It is difficult to tell how much of that was due to the complexity of the changes that the new policies entailed and how much due to local officials dragging their feet.
In July 2021, there was evidence that either the new policies—seven years old by then—were still not completely implemented, or that some changes might be underway. KCNA, for example, noted that on a visit to the countryside, Premier Kim Tok Hun “heard the opinions of officials of the farms about some practical measures to be taken by the Cabinet to improve the methods of economic management, as required by the developing reality.” Two weeks later, another KCNA item reported that Premier Kim, again in the fields, urged officials to “arouse the enthusiasm of farmers by enforcing in a methodological way the field-responsibility-system [plot responsibility system] within the framework of the sub-work team management system.”
SERMS and the plot responsibility system represent a considered, pragmatic approach by Kim Jong Un. They were studied internally and then introduced very soon after he took power. They were not meant as a short-term fix, but apparently looked forward to a much longer-term transformation of the economic and, to some extent, the power relationships in the system. Some centers of power would have seen their role diminished; others would have gained. Kim’s economic initiatives looked to be having a positive effect on the economy, at least through 2017, when new United Nations Security Council sanctions kicked in. COVID-19 obviously had a significant effect on the economy, and by cutting off trade, the border lockdown instituted in response to the pandemic greatly reduced the room for the still-new reformist measures to take root and develop. The question at the moment is, have those measures been forced off the top of Kim’s agenda, and if so, how far have they fallen, and indeed have they been scrapped. The issue of “studying and completing our-style economic management methods”—the code phrase used for reformist economic measures, including SERMS—was discussed at a recent enlarged plenary meeting of the Cabinet, indicating it remains under discussion in Pyongyang. North Korea has taken steps over the past year or two to retighten central controls under the difficult circumstances, but having been in play for most of the past two decades (since Kim Jong Il’s 2002 economic reforms), the reformist strains represented by SERMS are likely to reemerge when Pyongyang calculates the external environment shows promise of once again improving.
The next and final installment of the first phase of this “Understanding Kim Jong Un’s Economic Policymaking” series will review the purpose of and key findings from the project. It will conclude with potential implications for North Korea’s foreign policy.
This paper uses a modified version of the McCune-Reischauer romanization system for North Korean text, with some proper nouns following internationally recognized spellings or North Korean transliterations instead. For an overview of the project and the project’s scope and methodology, see Rachel Minyoung Lee and Robert Carlin, “Understanding Kim Jong Un’s Economic Policymaking: Project Overview,” 38 North, May 28, 2021, https://www.38north.org/2021/05/understanding-kim-jong-uns-economic-policymaking-project-overview/. On the evolution of North Korea’s defense spending policy, see Lee and Carlin, “Understanding Kim Jong Un’s Economic Policymaking: Defense Versus Civilian Spending,” 38 North, September 22, 2021, https://www.38north.org/2021/09/understanding-kim-jong-uns-economic-policymaking-defense-versus-civilian-spending/. For North Korea’s banking policy, see Lee and Carlin, “Understanding Kim Jong Un’s Economic Policymaking: Pyongyang’s Views on Banking,” 38 North, December 22, 2021, https://www.38north.org/2021/12/understanding-kim-jong-uns-economic-policymaking-pyongyangs-views-on-banking/.
For analysis of Kim Jong Il’s reform initiatives, see Sung-wook Nam, “Evaluation of the North Korean July 2002 Economic Reform,” North Korean Review 3, no. 1 (Spring 2007): 32-44, and Jong S. You,” Market Reforms in North Korea: Are They for Real?” North Korean Review 3, no. 2 (Fall 2007): 27-44.
Quote translated from “경애하는 김정은동지께서 조선로동당 중앙위원회 ２０１３년 ３월전원회의에서 하신 보고,” Rodong Sinmun, April, 2, 2013.
“New Year Address Made by Kim Jong Un,” KCNA, January 1, 2013.
Kim Chi-yo’ng, “Economic Construction Based on Byungjin Line: ‘Changes on the Ground’ According to an Academy of Social Sciences Researcher,” Choso’n Sinbo, January 26, 2015.
Ibid; Ri T’ae-ho, “Cabinet and Production Sites Closely Connected amid the Supreme Leader’s Interest,” Choso’n Sinbo, May 10, 2013; and Ri T’ae-ho, “For the Perfection of ‘Economic Management Methods of Our Style’: Interviews with Cabinet Officials Concerned,” Choso’n Sinbo, May 10, 2013.
Ri T’ae-ho, “Cabinet and Production Sites Closely Connected amid the Supreme Leader’s Interest,” Choso’n Sinbo, May 10, 2013.
North Korea’s veteran economist Ri Ki-so’ng in an interview with Choso’n Sinbo unveiled that these were the three main points of Kim Jong Un’s “economic management methods of our style.” See Kim Chi-yo’ng, “Economic Construction Based on Byungjin Line: ‘Changes on the Ground’ According to an Academy of Social Sciences Researcher,” Choso’n Sinbo, January 26, 2015. See also 김치관, “김정은 ‘5.30담화’와 내각 상무조,” 통일뉴스, January 6, 2015.
Quote translated from Kim Yo’ng-hu’ng, “Important Issues Arising in Implementing the Socialist Enterprise Responsibility Management System in a Realistic Manner,” Kyo’ngje Yo’ngu 4, (October 2020).
For an article stressing enterprises’ management rights, see Cho Ung-chu, “Important Issues Arising in Enterprises’ Proper Implementation of Socialist Enterprise Responsibility Management System,” Kim Il Sung Chonghaptaehakhakpo (Ch’o’rhak, Kyo’ngje) 2, (2018). For an article emphasizing the state’s unified guidance in the implementation of the SERMS, see Ri Sang-kuk, “Characteristics of the Socialist Enterprise Responsibility Management System, Which Has the Working People Fulfill Their Responsibilities and Roles,” Kyo’ngje Yo’ngu 3, (July 2016). For more on the SERMS and enterprises’ management rights, see Ri Ch’ang-ha, “Socialist Enterprise Responsibility Management System Is a Unique Enterprise Management Method of Our Style,” Kim Il Sung Chonghaptaehakhakpo (Ch’o’rhak, Kyo’ngje) 2, (2018); An Myo’ng-hun, “Understanding of Socialist Enterprises’ Right of Management,” Kim Il Sung Chonghaptaehakhakpo (Ch’o’rhak, Kyo’ngje) 4, (2018); and Ri Yo’ng-nam, “Several Important Issues Arising in Ensuring Producer Masses Fulfill Their Responsibilities and Roles as Masters,” Kyo’ngje Yo’ngu 4, (October 2018).
Quote translated from Ho’ Kwang-chin, “Important Issues Arising in Rationally Establishing the Responsibilities and Powers of Economic Management Organizations,” Kim Il Sung Chonghaptaehakhakpo (Ch’o’rhak, Kyo’ngje) 3, (2015). For a similar discussion, see Han Myo’ng-so’n, “Clearly Defining the Duties and Powers of the State’s Leading Economic Organs, Including the Cabinet, and Enterprises Is an Important Issue Arising in the Establishment of Socialist Economic Management Methods,” Kim Il Sung Chonghaptaehakhakpo (Ch’o’rhak, Kyo’ngje) 3, (2015).
Quote translated from Cho Ung-chu, “Important Issues Arising in Strengthening the Cabinet-Responsibility System and the Cabinet-Centered System, the Core of the State Economic Work System,” Kyo’ngje Yo’ngu 4, (October 2020).
“Kim Jong Un’s Letter to Participants in National Conference of Sub-workteam Leaders in Agricultural Sector,” KCNA, February 7, 2014.
Quote translated from Pak Yo’ng-nam, “The Seed That [We] Must Hold Onto in Improving and Strengthening Guidance on Agricultural Production in the Present Time,” Kyo’ngje Yo’ngu 4, (October 2015).
“Enlarged Plenary Meeting of Cabinet Held,” Rodong Sinmun, January 30, 2022.