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N. Korea stepping up hostile rhetoric ahead of SK elections

N. Korea stepping up hostile rhetoric ahead of SK elections

Posted February. 13, 2012 00:48,   


North Korea is stepping up harsh rhetoric against South Korea ahead of the latter`s parliamentary elections set for April 11.

“The North has accelerated its slandering of the South since the end of last year, when its leader Kim Jong Il died,” an official of South Korea`s Unification Ministry said Sunday. “This is different behavior from the past in responding the same day to what happens in the South.”

This year, North Korean media have been reporting in detail about the political situation in South Korea, including a money-for-votes scandal ravaging the ruling Saenuri Party, the party’s name change, and the North`s alleged hacking of the South Korean election watchdog’s Internet homepage on the day of the by-election for Seoul mayor in October last year.

Pyongyang has also used harsh expressions against the Lee Myung-bak administration and the ruling party, calling President Lee and Unification Minister Ryu Woo-ik “morons” and “immoral.” Such rhetoric suggests the North`s intent to get more actively involved in politics in the South.

The “Uriminzokkiri” website operated by the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland has been leading anti-South propaganda, but Pyongyang’s official media have also joined in. After ruling party Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun said drugs from North Korea were being sold in South Korea, the North`s state-run Korean Central News Agency in a commentary denouncing his accusation as a “foolish and mean trick.”

“We`re closely watching frequent (North Korean) reporting that uses excessively tough language to be called commentaries,” a South Korean official said. “The North’s strengthened slandering of the South is being interpreted as a signal that Pyongyang wants to be left alone because it has no intention of holding dialogue with Seoul.”

North Korean media are also trying to create a festive mood ahead of the late Kim Jong Il’s birthday, which falls on Thursday.

The Rodong Shinmun, the official daily of North Korean ruling Workers` Party, reported Saturday the opening of an athletic contest and a commemorative speech marking Kim`s birthday in addition to a variety of other events, including film screenings and a cooking contest. Prizes went to scientists and academic titles were given to professors and intellectuals. Organizations including those of farmers, women and youths have also been holding rallies to pledge allegiance to their new leader Kim Jong Un, vice chairman of the North`s powerful National Defense Commission.

North Korea has created Kim Jong Il medals and prizes and issued postal stamps in his memory. It also inscribed phrases praising the late leader as a “patriot” on a monolith at a mountain in South Pyongan Province.