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[Opinion] Purge

Posted September. 21, 2005 07:22,   


In 1999, North Korea tried to carry out an agricultural migration plan to a small country in Latin America. Under the plan, the North wanted to migrate hundreds of farmers to the country. Some say that the North Korean regime hoped to solve its food shortage problem this way.

But that was not the case. According to information provided by an American-Korean who participated in the project, the North designed the plan in order to prepare a contingency evacuation plan for core officials of the North Korean regime in case of a regime collapse. This information was not published at the time at the informant’s request.

Researchers who have studied North Korea stress that the North Korean regime should be distinguished from North Koreans. Fundamental changes can only come when North Korean policies are aimed at easing the sufferings of North Koreans since the North’s regime is only focused on maintaining itself. Some are also wondering how many core influential officials, who restlessly make efforts to sustain the North’s regime, exist aside from North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Il, and his close aides.

Evidence of this allegation was typified by a story published in the October issue of Shindonga. The story described the “Simhwajo Scandal” that was disclosed by a former North Korean official, who is living overseas after fleeing the country. Simhwajo, a nationwide network led by the Social Security Ministry, purged a whopping 25,000 government officials and their families between 1997 and 2000 after founder of the North Korean regime, Kim Il Sung, died. Reportedly, the purged figures included many high-ranking officials of the Workers Party, such as a senior member of the central committee and the Secretary of Pyongannam-do.

Of course, Kim Jong Il approved the operation of Simhwajo against dissidents. That well shows how weak the privileged positions of North Korean leaders are.

The authority of a dictator is an aria sung by a single person, not an opera singer in harmony with many others in nature. That is why the dictatorship uses fear as a means to maintain its regime toward people, regardless of their class.

However, this reign of terror alienates people from the regime and weakens the ground dictatorships stand on as a result. Unfortunately, North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il does not seem to know the antinomic functional relationship between dictatorship and terror, which has been proved countlessly in the past.

Song Mun-hong, Editorial writer, songmh@donga.com