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`Anti-S. Korea campaign solidifying Kim Jong Un`s power`

`Anti-S. Korea campaign solidifying Kim Jong Un`s power`

Posted March. 06, 2012 12:31,   


North Korea has been blasting South Korea for insulting its “highest dignity (leader).” Pyongyang even held a rally Sunday and pledged to wage an “indiscriminate holy war” against Seoul.

On the surface, the communist country is angry over criticism of its young leader Kim Jong Un and his late father Kim Jong Il by a South Korean military unit. Yet experts say the North has several motives behind its latest rhetoric against the South.

North Korea’s state-run Korean Central TV aired a military-civilian rally held at Kim Il Sung Plaza in Pyongyang from 11 a.m. the same day. The broadcaster said more than 150,000 people joined the rally, including high-ranking brass and government officials, such as Ri Yong Ho, vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers’ Party; Choe Yong Rim, premier of the Cabinet; Choe Tae Bok and Kim Ki Nam, central committee secretaries of the party; and Kim Yong Chun, chief of the general staff of the North Korean People`s Army.

Those who made speeches in the rally mentioned South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, saying terms such as “an extra-large provocation by the rogue group,” “crazy dogs,” “garbage of history lower than animals,” “Let’s kill them by tearing them out,” “Let’s make them scrubby,” and, “Let’s turn (the South Korean presidential office of) Cheong Wa Dae into a sea of flames.”

They also attached the word “gae (dog)” to President Lee’s name.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry and the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland also issued statements saying, “We will ruthlessly punish (the South) with our methods.”

Since Friday, North Korean media has lashed out at South Korea through more than 100 reports that contained the expression “blasphemy of our highest dignity."

South Korean soldiers in Incheon have recently attached photos of Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un on the door of a barracks and put slogans reading, “Knock Kim Jong Il down,” and “Beat Kim Jong Un to death” above and below the photos. The incident has been reported by media outlets, provoking the North.

The North blasted the South last year when the South Korean military used photos of the Kim family as shooting targets and slogans criticizing Kim Jong Il and Jong Un. The level of Pyongyang’s criticism is more severe than those of last year, however.

Pyongyang’s virulent reaction is for domestic consumption, according to experts, as the North needs to unite its people since it is in the process of power transfer.

Cheong Seong-chang, a senior researcher at the Seoul-based Sejong Institute, said, “Kim Jong Un’s power succession will officially be completed at a meeting of representatives of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party in the middle of next month. So to unite its nation, Pyongyang is intentionally stepping up its criticism of the South.”

will71@donga.com ysh1005@donga.com