August 05, 2010 12:44
Banners bearing the abbreviation "CNC" appeared for the first time at North Korea's notorious mass calisthenics performance "Arirang." CNC stands for "computer numerical control" and is understood as an arcane code for leader Kim Jong-il's son and heir apparent Kim Jong-un, who according to propaganda spearheads the country's modernization.
The Unification Ministry on Wednesday said banners with the slogan "The Might of CNC Juche Industry" appeared in the synchronized flash card performance at the event, which features a cast of thousands. The North Korean media started using the term CNC in August last year to refer to the younger Kim when he was anointed successor to the throne, but this is the first time that the term appeared at an "Arirang" performance, which is the country's showcase extravaganza for foreign visitors.
The North Korean media use the phrase "achieving CNC production" whenever they need to stress the importance of cutting-edge technology. Kim Jong-il's recent on-the-spot guidance tours have also focused on factories that have adopted "CNC" production processes. Early this year, posters were hung in Pyongyang highlighting computerized technology, and propaganda songs and movies sing the praises of automated production processes.
"North Korea appears to be pitching computerized technology to justify the hereditary transfer of power" since Kim Jong-un ostensibly spearheads the development of such technology, said Kim Yong-hyun, a North Korea expert at Dongguk University. "North Korea may also be trying to let others know that the transfer of power is progressing smoothly."
"The term CNC has the connotation of youth and novelty among North Koreans and can be seen as foreshadowing the rise of the younger Kim," a Unification Ministry official said.
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