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[Editorial] Prepare for N. Korean Provocations

Posted October. 17, 2008 07:01,   


“If the Lee Myung-bak administration continues to undermine our dignity and go against us, we will make a critical decision such as freezing inter-Korean relations,” North Korea’s state-run news media said yesterday.

“We will never tolerate those who dare touch our sacred regime that is our dignity and life and will harshly and indiscriminately punish them.”

South Korea needs a closer look at why the North has begun an offensive with such strong rhetoric.

The comments were carried in an editorial carried by the ruling Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun but express the North Korean leadership’s true intentions.

As it said, the North is likely to take real action, such as measures related to the Gaesong Industrial Complex, tours to the border city, or a military provocation. Earlier this month, the North took issue with a group of North Korean defectors sending leaflets critical of Pyongyang to the North at working-level inter-Korean military talks, threatening revenge on the South.

Some say Pyongyang might have criticized Seoul to deal with rumors over North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s health and emergency scenarios, the spread of leaflets exposing the reality of North Korea, and coping with unrest among North Korean residents.

As North Korean media the reclusive country as “our sacred regime that is our dignity and life,” the regime is more important than anything else in the isolated country. Reports on Kim’s attendance at a college soccer match without photos or videos after his 58-day absence from public view and the belated release of photos of his visit to a frontline military camp, which seems to have been taken two to three months ago, show the North’s intention to show off its regime’s stability.

The North might want to tame the Lee administration of South Korea like it did to the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations. Pyongyang emphasized the implementation of the agreements signed in the 2000 and last year’s inter-Korean summits, indicating it wants unconditional support from the South. Some say that as the North’s situation improves with 500,000 tons of U.S. food aid and removal from the U.S. list of terror-sponsoring nations, the North has unveiled its true intention: taking advantage of the South to have a direct relationship with the United States.

Despite the North’s true intention, South Korea must stick to its basic North Korea principles based on reciprocity. It must work hard to promote inter-Korean dialogue and exchanges but should not be afraid of a temporary stalemate or military provocations. Pyongyang through its tactics strives to make us feel puzzled or anxious. Therefore, the government and military must be thoroughly prepared for anything.