Having significantly modified its tone on the nation’s illegal nuclear weapons program, North Korea’s state media outlets have turned their outrage towards American-style free societies, referring to democracy on Wednesday as the world’s “most reactionary and unpopular ruling system.”
Rodong Sinmun, the government’s flagship newspaper, has increasingly warned North Koreans to resist American culture, arguing in the aftermath of diplomatic developments with Washington that “cultural poisoning” of communism is more dangerous than the military threat America poses.
The column against democratic free societies, titled “World Progressives Should See Through Absurdity of American-Style Democracy,” was published a day after North Korea celebrated “International Workers’ Day,” a Marxist holiday that typically devolves into violent riots around the world.
“The U.S. ruling quarters are using the American-style democracy as the means for their world domination strategy, advertising it is the democracy with universality to be applied in every country,” Rodong Sinmun alleges. “The American-style democracy is the most reactionary and unpopular ruling system mercilessly trampling down the desire and demand of the popular masses for freedom and democracy and a tool of aggression and interference.”
The column goes on to claim that the United States “does not hesitate to resort to armed intervention” against countries “not yielding to its demand,” and that the world brands leaders who reject free democratic societies “as dictator and terrorist organization [sic] and become a target of the West’s attack. This is the true picture of the cock-and-bull ‘defence of democracy’ by the U.S.”
“The reality clearly proves that the American-style democracy is unsuitable to other countries,” the story concludes, urging other countries to “advance along the road of independence.”
In another article published in Rodong Sinmun, while objecting to the United States allegedly imposing its political preferences on the world, the newspaper asserts, “The future of mankind is socialism.”
In a story celebrating “May Day,” the newspaper concludes that only socialism “provides genuine freedom and equality for all people.”
“The popular masses have long desired an independent new society in which all of them live well on an equal footing free from exploitation, oppression, domination and subordination,” the newspaper asserts. “In the capitalist society complete equality cannot be provided as it is based on individualism and divided into hostile classes.”
While deeming a global Marxist government “inevitable,” the newspaper also advocates for “a fierce struggle against all hues of counter-revolutionary forces including the imperialists.”
The language in Rodong Sinmun and the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), which acts as the only legal newswire service in North Korea, has changed dramatically in the past year as dictator Kim Jong-un has accepted unprecedented meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and American President Donald Trump. North Korean media has only mentioned the potential for “U.S. dialogue” in the pages available outside of the country, suggesting that North Korean citizens, who do not have access to news sites that Pyongyang does not control, are not aware of Kim’s plan to meet Trump in person in either late May or early June.
KCNA has reported on Kim’s diplomatic efforts not involving the United States so far this year, including Kim’s visit to Beijing last month and what it called a “historic” meeting between Kim and Moon last week.
On America, however, KCNA and Rodong Sinmun have shifted to attacking American free societies in the pages it once used to threaten a nuclear blast on U.S. soil.
“If one falls captive to the imperialist ideology and culture, one would be powerless though one has powerful military strength. This is a bitter lesson taught by history,” Rodong Sinmun warned in April. “The reactionary ideological and cultural poisoning paved a way for aggression by the imperialists in the past, and it is now playing the leading role in aggression.”
“Any destroyed material wealth can be restored, but nothing can make up for the mental and moral ruin of human being or the ideological and cultural ruin of the nation,” the newspaper concluded, calling American culture “ideological poisoning.”
North Korean state media has also taken to repeatedly condemn the United States on human rights.
“By nature, the U.S. is the worst human rights abuser with neither justifications nor face to talk about human rights of other countries,” Rodong Sinmun argued last week, shortly after the U.S. State Department published its annual human rights report.
In contrast, almost exactly a year ago, Rodong Sinmun instead threatened a “super-mighty preemptive strike” to “completely and immediately wipe out not only U.S. imperialists’ invasion forces in South Korea and its surrounding areas but the U.S. mainland and reduce them to ashes.”
In August, North Korean media touted its “just nuclear treasured sword” and promised to “defend independence and justice with nukes.” Two months later, Rodong Sinmun threatened an “unimaginable strike at an unimaginable time” on U.S. soil using nuclear weapons.
The new style of North Korean propaganda mirrors what the Communist Party of China has used its state media outlets for under the rule of Xi Jinping, who has spearheaded propaganda efforts to defame American democracy as inefficient and undesirable compared to the repressive Chinese regime.