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NK`s import of anti-protest gear from China

Posted June. 22, 2011 21:44,   


South Korea’s National Intelligence Service said Wednesday that North Korea has been importing a large volume of anti-protest gear such as tear gas, helmets and shields from China. At a meeting of the National Assembly’s National Intelligence Committee, the spy agency confirmed media reports on the North’s import of anti-protest equipment, showing photos of helmets and bulletproof vests. Also unnerving is the news that Pyongyang has set up a special forces unit for suppressing riots. These signs suggest that discontent is growing among North Koreans over their government and the communist regime’s instability under the rule of founder Kim Il Sung’s family for 66 years.

Under North Korea’s politics of fear, criticizing the communist regime is tantamount to risking one`s life. In the Stalinist country, the people`s patience has apparently reached a limit given that authorities are bracing for demonstrations and riots. National discontent, which shows characteristics of resistance for livelihood, has aggravated since the North’s failed currency reform of late 2009. When hundreds of North Koreans protested the beating of a merchant into a coma by a public security official, Pyongyang deployed military personnel to disperse the demonstrators. On Feb. 14 in Jongju and Yongchon, North Pyongan Province, dozens of North Koreans demanded electricity and rice just two days before the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

Kim Jong Il`s inner circle has witnessed protests in North Africa and the Middle East demanding regime change or instability. Pyongyang seems to have founded a new special forces unit and introduced anti-riot gear because even the smallest protest by residents, if left alone, could spread like wildfire. The special forces unit is known to patrol markets and other public places to prevent protests. The North is also blocking the use of mobile phones to stop the spread of pro-democracy movements and strengthen the monitoring of disgruntled groups of people.

What the North must urgently do to soothe public sentiment is to feed its people. Global Zero, an international anti-nuclear movement organization, estimated the cost of the North’s nuclear weapons development at 700 million U.S. dollars. If the North decides to spend the money on its people, it can buy 1 million tons of rice for them. If Pyongyang begins to fire tear gas at residents who rise up for food, this will signal the end of the communist regime.