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`Spirit of Suicide Bombing`

Posted April. 27, 2010 06:25,   


North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was apparently deeply impressed Sunday while surrounded by leading brass at a massive military drill marking the 78th anniversary of the (North) Korean People’s Army. The North has set the launch of an anti-Japanese mobile unit reportedly formed on April 25, 1932, as the date its army was founded. The anniversary is also part of the effort to idolize the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung. “The Korean People’s Army has grown into a strong force armed with the spirit to uphold the Dear Leader (Kim Il Sung), the spirit of guns and bombing, and the spirit of suicide bombing as invincible beliefs,” Kim Jong Il said. Official North Korean media also said, “Joint attacks by diverse land artillery guns destroyed the enemy’s fortress instantly and turned it into flames.”

“The spirit of suicide bombing” is a phrase reserved for the leader of a terrorist group. It brings to mind Al Qaeda members, who arm themselves with bombs or crash a truck loaded with bombs into a target, or Japan’s kamikaze bombers in the Second World War. Kim Jong Il’s mad ploy of getting his military to perform suicide bombing to protect the post of Dear Leader, on top of starving his people, seems scary yet pitiful.

The North has stepped up its saber rattling amid mounting evidence suggesting Pyongyang might have had a hand in the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan. The North made a string of threats last week, saying, “(President Lee Myung-bak) will be forced to pay a huge price for defaming our dignity and taste the bitterness in person (Thursday),” “The situation is on the verge of a crisis involving the possibility of imminent war, let alone tours to Mount Kumgang (Friday),” and “If the South invades our sky, land and sea even by 0.001 millimeter, we will completely crush this act of aggression by mobilizing all means, including our nuclear deterrence (Saturday).”

The reason for Pyongyang’s routine threats is the difficulties it faces in maintaining its communist regime and a sense of crisis. The North also intends to defuse internal public anger caused by economic uncertainty resulting from its disastrous currency revaluation late last year. The mass promotion of more than 100 senior military officers to the rank of general could imply Kim Jong Il’s intent to provide the military elite with personnel favors amid lack of funds for economic benefits, and reward his military for the sinking of the Cheonan.

An old Korean proverb says, “A dog that barks excessively cannot bite.” Pyongyang could attempt an act of aggression even more desperate than the attack on the Cheonan if sustaining its system remains problematic despite a string of internal emergency measures. South Korea must remain vigilant against the North’s threat and thoroughly prepare itself. Seoul must exercise flexibility at times, but should never be feeble. It also needs a strategy and measures to fundamentally change the communist country.