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[Editorial] NK Leader Parties While His People Starve

Posted February. 17, 2009 04:52,   


North Korean leader Kim Jong Il celebrated his 67th birthday yesterday. Fireworks were set off in skies above Mount Baekdu, and celebrations were held all over the poor country. Money was wasted to mark the birthday of a dictator who is to blame for suppression and poverty.

Unfortunately relieving the pain and suffering of North Koreans seems to be impossible as long as the Kim dynasty continues to rule the North. The communist regime is increasing tension by its business-as-usual confrontational tactics - blaming others for the crisis instead of taking care of its 24 million people’s misfortune. If nothing is done, the international community could lose interest in giving humanitarian aid to the country.

Kim Yong Nam, the head of the North Korean parliament, has accused South Korea of being “a warlike power opposed to reunification, bringing the disaster of nuclear war.” The North is trying to pass the buck, however, despite violating the denuclearization agreement in arming itself with nuclear weapons first. Pyongyang is again trying to use as a bargaining chip its long-range missiles and provocations in the Yellow Sea. So who is blaming who?

North Korea might want to see a repetition of the past when its claim for unity used to lead to internal division among South Koreans, but inter-Korean relations have changed. The previous two liberal administrations in Seoul tried to paralyze the South Korean people’s judgment on the North by pushing for two inter-Korean summits, and in doing so, spread the pro-North Korea movement. The Kim Dae-jung administration invited North Korean female cheerleaders to the Universiade in Daegu in Aug. 2003, following the Busan Asiad in Sept. 2002, even before the memory of the deadly naval clash in the Yellow Sea faded away. Certain thoughtless South Koreans chanted, “We’re one” in being fascinated by the beauty of the North Korean cheerleaders. They intentionally did not focus on the cheerleaders, who cried because a picture of their leader Kim Jong Il got wet. Even a pregnant pro-North activist who visited the North’s propagandistic Arirang show gave birth in Pyongyang. She felt like she was the frontier of unification. But these are bygones.

Paradoxically, Kim’s birthday party can help correct the South Korean view of North Korea. The North is an extremely poor land where many children beg for food and residents suffer from malnutrition. But the communist regime still calls for “bare fists” and “labor” at construction sites. Who can deny that Kim is responsible for making North Korea what it is today.