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North Korea Tightens Security Grip with First Police Conference in 12 Years

Daniel Kim Views  

North Korea’s fifth National Conference of Heads of Branch Public Security Stations took place from April 30 to May 1 at the April 25 House of Culture in Pyongyang, according to a Korean Central News Agency report on May 2. [Photo=Yonhap News]

For the first time in 12 years, North Korea held a conference for the heads of branch public security stations (equivalent to precinct captains). Given that these stations essentially serve as surveillance bodies, North Korea is expected to tighten internal control.

The Korean Central News Agency reported on May 2, “The National Conference of Heads of Branch Public Security Station took place from April 30 to May 1 at the April 25 House of Culture in Pyongyang.”

According to the report, Ri Thae Sop, the Minister of Social Security, urged the station chiefs and workers to “struggle with a firm determination and will to stand even on the blade for the system and the safety of the people.”

He also emphasized the need to “strengthen law-abiding education so that residents voluntarily comply with the legal order” and “we must legally protect the party’s construction of a powerful country against all kinds of illegality and uncompromising acts through struggle.”

In North Korea, these police stations are the lowest-level institutions under the Social Security Department, equivalent to police stations in South Korea. While their main duties are maintaining public order and protecting property and life, they monitor and control anti-regime activities.

It is expected that North Korea will strengthen internal control as this conference was held for the first time in 12 years since Kim Jong Un assumed power in 2012.

A South Korean Unification Ministry official also met with reporters that day and assessed that “North Korea intends to strengthen internal control, including encouraging the active role of station chiefs in consolidating loyalty to Kim and strengthening social control.”

During the 2012 conference, Kim sent a congratulatory message stating, “We must crush all the impure hostile elements who are wickedly instigating disturbances and riots, and those who are waiting for their time with a knife inside, without mercy,” setting a precedent for strengthening social discipline.

The official added, “This conference implies that there are many deviant and illegal activities occurring within North Korean society.”

Recently, North Korea has been making all-out efforts to block exposure to foreign cultures, including enacting three unjust laws: The Reactionary Ideology and Culture Rejection Law (2020), which imposes the death penalty on those who have been exposed to South Korean content, the Youth Education Guarantee Law (2021), and the Pyongyang Cultural Language Protection Law (2023). This conference is interpreted as a move in line with the previous stance of controlling the loosened social atmosphere.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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