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North Korea’s “Main Enemy” Label Stricken

Posted February. 04, 2005 22:51,   


Since 1995, North Korea has been labeled the “main enemy” in the National Defense White Paper after the remark of “setting Seoul aflame” that came from a North Korean official. After ten years, the label has now been stricken from the white paper starting with this year’s issue.

The Ministry of National Defense announced that the publication and the distribution of the “2004 Defense White Paper” to the National Assembly, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Government Administration, and the press on January 4.

North Korea was referred to as a “direct military threat for its conventional weapons, weapons of mass destruction, and the fore placement of its military strength,” instead of the former expression of “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the main enemy,” in the latest issue of the white paper.

The ministry explained that the decision was made after a multi-faceted deliberation of the case, for there are no other cases of indicating a sovereign enemy in the National Defense White Papers in any other nations worldwide, and in order to conform to the special situation of carrying out reconciliatory policies and military stances at the same time. The ministry also added that the fact that North Korea has been restrained in its choice of terms of hostility towards South Korea since the Inter-Korean Summit talks of June 15, 2000 has been taken into consideration.

The term “main enemy” was printed in the “1995 Defense White Paper,” after a North Korean representative, Mr. Park Young Soo, said, “Seoul will be set aflame when the war breaks out,” at the eighth Inter-Korean working-level conference held at Panmunjeom in March of 1994. An official from the Ministry of National Defense said, “Though the term, the “main enemy”, will be omitted from the public documents like the white paper, such concept will always be clearly recognized internally and remain firm in strict mental trainings of the soldiers and on our vigilance against the real and concrete military threat from DPRK.”

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com