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N. Korea slowes down the pace of its provocations

Posted August. 12, 2017 07:15,   

Updated August. 12, 2017 07:27


After escalating the level of provocations against the U.S. day after day, North Korea started slowing down the pace of its provocations. The North threatened attack on Guam on Wednesday and disclosed a detailed plan to launch strike on the U.S. territorial island in the Pacific on Thursday, to elevate tension to the highest level. Pyongyang only bombarded with hostile words on Friday, however, while avoiding using the threat of military provocation.

“The spirit of full-blown war of resistance is escalating over time (in North Korea) in order to mercilessly exterminate the organization of gangsters, who bring the situation to the extreme and even spit out the words of threat that it would dare to risk a war,” said the North’s Rodong Sinmun in its editorial entitled “No Other Country Can Beat North Korea" on Friday. “We will crush without fail all different tactics and acts of provocation by the hostile forces.”

“After having disclosed the plan to strike Guam, North Korea is currently keeping a watch on the U.S.’ response for now,” said Park Byeong-gwang, head of the Northeast Asia unit at the Institute for National Security Strategy. “The North must have been deeply agonizing over whether it will be able to precisely strike Guam as it threatened to, or whether the U.S. will be able to intercept it.”

After issuing the government’s statement reading “We completely oppose the UN Security Council’s new resolution of sanctions (2371)” on Monday, the North disclosed a plan to strike Guam, before presently concentrating on the effort to secure internal consolidation of its regime. The North held a mass of 100,000 people at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on Wednesday, following the gatherings of soldiers under the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces and police under the People’s Security on Thursday.

“Before releasing the statement on Monday, the North Korean government issued order to be on emergency standby to all senior officials above the department chief level at city and county chapters of the ruling Workers’ Party nationwide,” Radio Free Asia of the U.S. reported on Thursday. “The order to be on emergency standby, issued by the party’s Central Military Commission, was handed to the general affairs office under the respective provincial party commissions by email.”

“Tuesday’s issues of the Rodong Sinmun carrying the statement announced by the Republic (North Korea)’s government was distributed to Jakang Province by helicopter immediately,” an informed source on North Korea told Radio Free Asia. “Except the time when the daily was carrying Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s statement, it is the first time the North used military helicopters to circulate the Rodong Sinmun.”

However, the North Koreans’ sense of fear and fatigue over war has already reached the boiling point. “Richer people and those living in cities are all the more concerned about Kim Jong Un’s provocations with nuclear weapons than others," another informed source said.

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com