North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has inspected the nation’s security force headquarters, state media said on Sunday, in what Seoul media say is a bid to further tighten his control on society.
The North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Kim expressed “great satisfaction” over his undated visit to the Ministry of People’s Security, equivalent to police authorities in the West.
Yonhap news agency and YTN television channel in Seoul said Kim’s latest inspection appeared to be part of the North’s campaign to further tighten its control of the people amid food shortages and social instability.
“The security of the country and its people is reliably protected by the interior force intensely loyal to the Party and the leader, the country and its people,” Kim was quoted by KCNA as saying.
During the visit, Kim described the public security forces as “the political defenders of the Party and vanguard fighters in the class struggle” KCNA said.
Experts say the North’s chronic food shortage is likely to worsen in the coming year as its rice and corn harvests have been damaged by bad weather.
The North suffered famine in the 1990s which killed hundreds of thousands. Since then it has relied on overseas aid to feed millions of its people.
Under previous liberal governments Seoul sent around 400,000 tonnes of rice and 300,000 tonnes of fertiliser a year across the border.
But shipments stopped after a conservative government took office and linked major aid to progress on nuclear disarmament, angering Pyongyang.