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North Korea Today No. 255

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
[Weekely Newsletter] No.255 December 2008


[Hot Topics]
People Expect “development of US-North Korea relations,” with Obama winning the Election.

[Politics]
Hamheung No. 109 United Investigation Patrol, for the Third Quarter of the Year Control Narcotic Criminals

[Obama Elected]
"Intervention with Our Human Rights Subject will lead to Bold Action"
Residents of National Border areas, "No Need for Civilian Defense Force Training"
Sinchun County-"America is Still the DPRK's Sworn Enemy, Whoever May the Elected President Be"

[Economy]

Diverse Opinions among Pyongyang Central Party Officials over the Abolition of General Markets
Lack of Rice for Sale in Local Grain Enterprises
Soonchun City, a Showcase for Farmer’s Market
Massive Confusion over the Sudden Closure of the General Market in Hamheung City

[Women/Children/Education]
Moosan Kindergarten Closed Due of the Coal Shortage
An Official’s Wife Who Was Threatened with Divorce Sets Fire
An Outbreak of Paratyphoid at Wonsan Welfare Institution for Kkotjebi

[Society]
Factory, Public Enterprise Distribute Vegetables for Gimjang.
A Thief Left a Party Identity Card behind "He still has a scrap of conscience."
The Rich Family's Gimjang Expense up to 300,000-400,000 NK Won
It’s Gimjang Season, but the Only Thing Growing Are Worries
The Needy Make Gimjang Salted Radish Leaves.

[Accidents]
Jungpyong County’s Derailed Train Accident Causing Heavy Casualties
Fire Incident at a Munitions Factory in Kanggye City

[Commentary]
Outbreak of Paratyphoid Results from Food Shortage

[Planning a Series] Reading North Korea 2008 Through “North Korea’s Nationwide Report (Public Lecture Materials for Party Leaders and General Public)”
In North Korea 2008, What Was Accomplished and What Was Not?
Part 3 Making Distinction from Lee Myung-bak Regime

___________________________________________________________________________
[Hot Topics]
People Expect “development of US-North Korea relations,” with Obama winning the Election.
The people of North Korea are busy talking about that Obama. The fact that an African American has been selected as the next president of United States of America says many things. A person interviewed from Wonsan City market of Kangwon Province said, “Since he is an offspring of people who were sold to America as slaves, he will not be arrogant and impolite like white presidents who are from rich capitalist families.” They all agree that, “this is a good chance to develop a new, positive relationship between North Korea and the U.S.A.” Kim Young-deok, 48, who sells Japanese secondhand goods said, “If the two countries develop good relations, North Korea does not need to spend much money and human labor on development of nuclear weapons and long distance missiles. The burden that people hold will decrease and life here will improve a lot.” His high expectations were visible as he spoke.


[Politics]
Hamheung No. 109 United Investigation Patrol, for the Third Quarter of the Year Control Narcotic Criminals

No.109 Untied Investigation Patrol* (109호 련합지휘부) of Hamheung City, South Hamgyong Province enforced regulating narcotic criminals for the third quarter, with leading and directive secretaries(조직비서) of the Provincial party attending on October 23. No.109 Untied Investigation Patrol transferred felony criminals to local police stations, and sent misdemeanor criminals to the City Training Center, or released them. Criminals who were caught during the third quarter from July to September are mainly narcotic criminals, smugglers across the border, marketers of illegal records and anti-socialist activists that were absent without notice, watching illegal videos. Thirty people were arrested for narcotic crimes, and sent to local police stations. College students who manufactured the narcotics were expelled from school. Workers who participated in superstitious behavior to receive money, and who were absent without notice, were sent to the City Training Center. Those who disseminated illegal videos were deported to farming village of Boojeon County, South Hamgyong Province. Viewers of the videos, even though they watched it three years ago, were punished if there is clear proof.

* What is No. 109 United Investigation Patrol?
It is a temporary formatted control-organization formed on January 20, 2005, around the national border areas after the policy was applied on October 9, 2004. In May of this year, No. 109 United Investigation Patrol was established in every city and county, and operations are in full swing. It appointed a capable person from the party members of each city and county to the head of No. 109 United Investigation Patrol, and organized the group with members from the local police station, the public prosecutors station, the courthouse, and the People's Assembly. No. 109 United Investigation Patrol divides itself into several departments, and regulates the details from non-socialistic elements to evident criminal acts. It has a partial punishment-function too.


[Obama Elected]
"Intervention with Our Human Rights Subject will lead to Bold Action"

Although a better and improved relationship is anticipated between the U.S. and North Korea than the current Bush administration but the essence of the U.S. will not change, according to one Pyongyang government official. He added, "We need to show our stronger military strength so that the U.S. will not look over us. We will consent to their reasonable proposals but if they meddle with our human rights issues, we will take strong and drastic measures. We cannot show any signs of obsequious behavior."

Residents of National Border areas, "No Need for Civilian Defense Force Training"
In response to the newly elected president, Barack Obama, the residents of the national border areas in North Hamgyong Province openly expressed their anticipation for the U.S. and North Korea's peaceful coexistent relationship for the upcoming year. Residents of Moosan County, Yeonsa County and Hoeryong City, who came to North Hamgyong Chungjin City's Soonam Market as wholesale traders, discussed and exchanged their opinions: "There will probably be no need for Civilian Defense Force Training if the U.S. and North Korea have a peaceful relationship. Eliminating coercive military duty will ease our lives' harsh and heavy burdens. Ending this war is our only hope for our survival. We only speak of war now because we are living through devastating conditions. If our living conditions improved, why would we want to inflict conflicts onto others. We are talking of war because our current situation isn't any better than an actual war. We are hoping that the President-Elect Obama will develop a more peaceful relationship with our country.

Sinchun County-"America is Still the DPRK's Sworn Enemy, Whoever May the Elected President Be"
"America is still the DPRK's sworn enemy whoever the elected president is", this statement was the response to a recent U.S. Presidential Election by the residents of Sinchun County in South Hwanghae Province, where the biggest scars of the Korean War still remains. Lee Ki-nam, who is now 78, lost his entire family by the U.S. bombing missions during the Korean War. He said, "The U.S. coyote-like ambition will never change. We should not hope for any changes to their imperialist nature." After Lee's comment, other elderly added, "He's right. We cannot live in the same world with the American imperialist. If our intention and determination softens by expecting any goods from the Coyotes, we will suffer another disaster." Even the relatively younger generations, those in their 40's and 50's said, "The reason our country is divided and the DPRK is struggling with poor living conditions is due to the U.S. adapted anti-communist scheme and the economic sanction. We should never let our guards down." agreeing with the first generations of the Korean War.


[Economy]
Diverse Opinions among Pyongyang Central Party Officials over the Abolition of General Markets

Although there are no reported objections to the Central Party's decision to abolish the general markets, it is known that there were conflicting opinions about such decision. One Pyongyang official says, "The officials, who openly object to general markets, expressed loudly that since the establishment of the general markets, the increase of self-interest and the widening gap of the wealthy and the poor are not consistent with the principles of socialism. They report that it is causing an increase in the crime rate as well as the increased production of imitation brand products. Also, the people are not faithful to their jobs and farm work, rather they are far more interested in making profit from small, private farms. In order to stop further damage to society, they say that is essential to abolish the general markets." These officials do not have anything to say about the government's inability to provide food and wages for the people. They just insist that the general markets should be prohibited because the acts of the people striving for survival on their own are the acts of anti-socialists. Although there were many officials who had different opinions, they had just kept silent on the matter. However, one official spoke out, saying, "Although nobody said anything publicly, many are saying that 'under the current food crisis, if the military provisions are taken from farms and seed for the next season and livestock fodder are set aside, there won't be enough food for farmers. Although the government prohibits the selling of food immediately, the local grain enterprises do not have enough food to sell." The Central party has decided that starting next year, factory items will be sold in state-run stores, food will be sold in a distribution center in each area, and agricultural products food will be sold in the farmer's market. The Party allows only three-day openings (the 1st, 11th, and 21st) a month, which used to open every day.

Lack of Rice for Sale in Local Grain Enterprises
Due to the new policy that prohibits the food sales in markets but allows the sales only through distribution centers, the local grain enterprises worry about the lack of food they can provide to the centers. One official in Pyongsung says, "There is enough food for the military for the moment because the counties can buy food from the many surrounding farms as well as from those individuals who are willing to sell their grains. However, the local grain enterprises in the big cities have problems. Since the military strictly controls the flow of food out of each county, big cities can't buy their necessary food unless the government sanctions them the food." Some officials, who oppose to the abolition of the general markets, say, "Those officials who advocate the abolition politically go to extremes. Their arguments do not reflect reality. Local grain enterprises do not have enough rice to sell. Under these circumstances, how could they issue the immediate ban of rice sales? They have no interest in the difficult situations of the people, but only have the interest in spreading ideological propagandas. Another official also says, "If the government tries to control people too much, there might be a sudden change of public sentiment and cause uproar."

Soonchun City, a Showcase for Farmer’s Market
Soonchun in South Pyongan Province was chosen as a model area for a farmer’s market that opened for business in November. On the 11th, there were only selected vegetables, meat products and fruit for sale – cabbage, potato, sweet potato, local eatable plants, ground red pepper, duck, chicken, rabbit, persimmon, apple, pear, honey, medicinal herbs, and more. Police officers were out in force that day standing in all the street corners making sure no one was selling or buying any industrial machine parts or grains. When they saw any of these forbidden items, they confiscated them. The police also stopped anyone who was carrying a large load, and searched them. Even in the midst of this, there were still some who ran a black market selling daily necessities and industrial goods. Though the city has not allowed a general market, it cannot sell food items through public distribution centers (배급소). Whenever the residents get together, they complain, “They tell us to buy farmed products, but not grains or industrial products! From where can we get food? It is really frustrating to hear the government, which cannot provide food for us, telling us not to purchase food. We cannot get involved in commerce now; and the next year, according to what we are hearing, we will not be allowed to do small patch lot farming anymore. There is no way for us to survive.”

Massive Confusion over the Sudden Closure of the General Market in Hamheung City
Many residents of Hamheung City, South Hamgyong Province, were thrown into a great confusion because of the sudden shut down of the general market. The city was chosen to be a model area for a farmer’s market from November. Many wholesalers who bought a large quantity of goods are suffering the most. Not only are they having a difficult time selling the goods, they are having a hard time dealing with the harsh reality that they can only open for business three days in a month. Since they are not allowed to deal any industrial products, daily necessities or food items, their businesses are facing a bleak future. A woman in her 40’s, who has a clothing business, shows her deep frustration over the situation: “It is absolutely driving me insane – how can they allow people to sell only farmed products and nothing else? I have no idea where and how I can sell my cloths… I feel like my insides are being eaten away from all the worrying.” Many business people, who find themselves in the same boat, are selling their goods at cost in hope that they can get rid of them as fast as they can. Those who have a large quantity of goods to sell, are either peddling in the street corners or engaging in black market tactics. They would approach a perspective buyer and show him a product or give him a note asking, “What are you looking to buy?” If the person is interested, they take him to where their goods are stored. Many business people who did not bother with door-to-door sales, are now doing it. They carry a big load of goods on their back and go around knocking on people’s doors. Ironically, as it was in the case of Soonchun, Hamheung, Grain Policy Enterprise and state-run stores are not being run smoothly due to the lack of goods.


[Women/Children/Education]
Moosan Kindergarten Closed Due of the Coal Shortage

Since November 10, the kindergartens in Moosan-town, Moosan County of North Hamgyong Province have been closed because of a shortage of coal. The kindergarten has decided to send nursery teachers to children’s home to help them learn. At the end of last October, many students caught colds in this kindergarten because the temperature dropped drastically. Because of the severe cold weather, some children had a nervous problem and had paralysis around their mouth. This institute has requested People’s Assembly for aid, but it has not received any clear answers yet, so they decided to close the kindergarten until next February. To make up the loss, teachers will visit and teach their students once a week at their homes.

An Official’s Wife Who Was Threatened with Divorce Sets Fire
Onsung County, North Hamgyong Province, began inspections of registration of the staff of each government office, enterprise, and farm. When the registration department of the police station found illegal conduct by staff and their family, they were punished. For example, an official can lose his position if there is record that his wife or children have been to China. In fact, the authorities instated this policy several years ago, but they have not been applied to officials. An official of the Farm Management Committee of Onsung County had a record that his wife and her sister visited their relatives in China to secure trading items. He sued for divorce in order to avoid losing his position. His wife, Ms Kim, cried and begged his forgiveness by saying, “Did I do that just for myself? I did it for my family. How can you give me the cold shoulder?” But he did not accept her, so she became angry and set a fire to their home. Fortunately, her family and neighbors put out the fire at the initial stage, so it did not cause major damage. When police officer who investigated the site and found the fire was set intentionally, they arrested her on the spot because the fire almost burned portraits of their leaders.

An Outbreak of Paratyphoid at Wonsan Welfare Institution for Kkotjebi
Last November 12, paratyphoid broke out at Wonsan Welfare Institution for Kkotjebi (homeless children) in Kangwon province and the number of infected children has increased gradually. They quarantined children who have had high fevers and illness from fatigue without providing them any treatment. Because they did not have any solution for this disease, seven children died.


[Society]
Factory, Public Enterprise Distribute Vegetables for Gimjang.

Every city and county factories and enterprises distributes radishes and Korean cabbages for Gimgang* (김장). The portion for a person varies depending on the situation of each factory and enterprise. Workers could receive more than the expected amount if the managers of each factory and public enterprise make a good negotiation. The powerful public enterprises can provide more than enough vegetable for Gimjang. However, most of them distribute only 20-30% of vegetable needed for Gimjang. The farmers are able to use small fields to grow radish, Korean cabbage, green onion, and pepper on their own. However, city workers need to buy everything at a market. That is why it is significantly important how much of vegetables are distributed by factories and public enterprises for the workers.

*Gimjang (김장): preparing a large amount of Gimchi for winter consumption
*Gimchi: pickled Korean vegetables

A Thief Left a Party Identity Card behind "He still has a scrap of conscience."
In Sinpo City, South Hamgyong Province, a thief broke into the house of a man in his forties. The thief broke the lock to get into the house and ran away with nice goods such as clothes and handbags. While the owner of the house looked through what was stolen, his party identity card came to mind. A person who lost his the party identity card (당증) is considered to lose his 'political life' and will eventually be excluded from the party. As they could not find it after digging through their house, they began to worry. Three days after the break-in, their identity card was found on the door. The thief brought it back and left it at the door. The owner of the house said, "The thief is the one who knows about the domestic situation. He at least had a scrap of conscience not to ruin my life." He has been on everyone's mouth as “a thief with a good heart".

The Rich Family's Gimjang Expense up to 300,000-400,000 NK Won
It is the season for Gimjang in major cities including Pyongyang city. Government officials or wealthy families spend around 150,000 NK won* for Gimjang this year. Some rich families make Gimchi up to 700-800 kg or buy a kind of sandfish and 20-30 pollacks for over 5,000 NK Won/each, so the cost for Gimjang reaches up to 300,000 - 400,000 NK Won. Some residents who gathered around the Seongyo market in Pyongyang city complained about high cost for Gimjang. Park Ki-jeong (35), who was at the market to buy vegetables said, "My family is going to make 200 kg of Gimchi. I am able to save some money because we receive about 80 kg of Korean cabbages from the enterprise. We are five people in our family. In order for our family to get through this winter we need a total of 500kg of Gimchi, 100 kg for each person. However, we don't have enough money for that." When people changed the subject to Gimjang this year, they laughingly commented that “I wish I could taste Gimchi made in government officials' family."

* US$1.00 is approximately 3,400 NK Won.

Table. The cost for Gimjang in party official household in Pyongsung city



It’s Gimjang Season, but the Only Thing Growing Are Worries
As the Gimjang season sets in, people have begun to make Gimjang in earnest across the country. Gimjang is considered as an essential source of food, probably one of the top two. In North Korea, people have mostly grains with Gimchi in almost every meal due to no other side dishes. The amount of Gimjang that is prepared is obviously an important determinant of how well they could live through next spring.

For all that, residents of Yeonsa County in North Hamgyong Province sighed deeply as Gimjang season approached saying, “We can’t afford to make much Gimjang this winter”. Last year, the number of Korean cabbages prepared for every household was usually about 300~400 kg ( about 200 Korean cabbages) even the poor families, but this year most of households could barely afford 200kg of cabbages for Gimjang due to the rising costs. The number of Korean cabbages and amount of preparation for Gimjang has become smaller for most families this year than last year.

The situation is even worse for farmers. They sell their best cabbages at the market to make as much money as they can and then make Gimjang with what’s left over, usually radish leaves of about 100 kg. Of course, the wealthy can still afford over 400 kg of cabbage for their Gimjang.

The Needy Make Gimjang Salted Radish Leaves.
The needy and the homeless children (Kkotjebi) make every possible effort to glean in harvested fields for dropped heads of grain or cabbage and radish leaves. Because they cannot even think of actually making Gimchi they preserve what they gather with salt to help last them through winter.


[Accidents]
Jungpyong County’s Derailed Train Accident Causing Heavy Casualties
On November 8, the train leaving Rakwon County from Jungpyong County in South Hamgyong Province derailed. Two carriages of the passenger train overturned. 40 passengers were reported to have been killed and 60 critically injured. The cause of the accident, which took place on a bend, remains unknown. Meanwhile, Railway Authorities and Security Officials were busy trying to shift the responsibility to others.

Fire Incident at a Munitions Factory in Kanggye City
On November 2, a fire broke out in a munitions factory located in Kanggye city in Jagang Province. The fire started in a place where 5.45mm automatic rifle bullets were produced and ammunition boxes were packed. A female worker was using oil to clean packaging hardware and placed some of the oil near electric motor wires. Fire ignited because of the wires short-circuiting. Then, the fire spread to the bullet boxes. There were no big casualties. However, because the room where the fire started was in a tunnel, there were workers who fell and suffocate because they could not evacuate in time. Security officials at the factory conducted interrogations for a few days against the day-shift workers in order to find the cause of the accident. Meanwhile, the workers in this factory work for 9 hours 30 minutes a day in day and night shift work. Last month, they received some rice and corn, corn nutrition powder, and noodles.


[Commentary] Outbreak of Paratyphoid Results from Food Shortage
There was an infamous plague, which took the lives of many kids at the kkotjebie (homeless) camp, called ‘9.27 Camp’ during the Arduous March. This disease is a simple fever epidemic called ‘paratyphoid’ in South Korea. However, this is a fearful disease in North Korea that spread, along with cholera, during the severe food shortage.

According to "North Korea's food situation report," published by the Good Friends in 1999, 60% of those who died of long-term nutritional deficiency diseases during the arduous march were deaths due to the disease. Followed by tuberculosis (5.9% of the total death toll), paratyphoid (4.2% of the total death toll) had the second highest fatality rate. The prevalence of this disease lowered in 2000 for a while, thanks to improvements in the food situation. However, the disease re-emerged in Wonsan in Kangwon Province.

Being infected by the Salmonella paratyphoid is similar to typhoid fever, which is accompanied by diarrhea, and headache. However, it is classified as group 1 epidemic with minor symptoms. Adults with enough nutrition can recover from it in a few days after suffering from cold-like symptoms. However, it can be fatal to the children or the elderly with weak immune system. Due to continuous diarrhea, the mortality rate is high when there is not enough nutrition. You can lose consciousness when the temperature goes up and can cause irreversible brain damage. The price of the medicine for this disease was so expensive that this disease was nicknamed ‘10,000 won disease (만원병)’. It cost 10,000 NK won when the price for 1kg of rice was 80 NK won. Moreover, due to strong resistance it can persist even in low temperature in the winter.

Once the disease attacks, it spreads quickly because there are no follow-up measures other than the quarantine of the patient from others. The prevalence of the disease is especially high in homeless (Kkotjebi) camps. Once the disease occurs it spreads in no time because the Kkotjebis suffering from chronic nutrition deficiencies are cramped in a small room.

A prompt initial response is very important when it comes to dealing with infectious disease. As such, the North Korean government must actively support the supply of medicine and the initial treatment in order to prevent the spread of paratyphoid. We urge them to improve the sanitary conditions and to pay attention to nutritional supplements.

The city government of Wonsan, where paratyphoid broke out should increase the distribution of food aid to homeless (Kkotjebi) camps in order to improve the nutritional condition as well as the sanitary conditions.

The South Korean government and the international community need to keep an eye on North Korea's outbreak of the epidemic and actively support its treatment and prevention efforts. The international community should not overlook the fact that a humanitarian crisis from a disease epidemic is derived by a humanitarian crisis from food shortage.


[Planning a Series] Reading North Korea 2008 Through “North Korea’s Nationwide Report (Public Lecture Materials for Party Leaders and General Public)”
In North Korea 2008, What Was Accomplished and What Was Not?


Part 1 Review of New Year’s Combined Editorial 2008
Part 2 Executive Plan on New Year’s Editorial 2008
Part 3 Making Distinction from Lee Myung-bak Regime
Part 4 Warnings against Moral Hazards by Party Leaders
Part 5 Food Crisis, To Break Through? Or To Persuade?
Part 6 Love and Hate toward United States
Part 7 What North Korea Could Accomplish; What North Korea Could Not
Accomplish;

Part 3 Making Distinction from Lee Myung-bak Regime

The Lecture Material for the party leaders and general public, published April, Juche 97 (2008) with the title, “Concerning the Inevitability of Bankruptcy of the Anti-North Confrontation Policy Set By Lee Myung-bak Group.”

Every day seems to bring the relationship between North and South Korea closer to disaster. North Korea suspended tourism in Kaesong and train service between the North and South as of December 1, and informed the South Korean government that it would halve the permitted number of South Korean personnel on November 24. It has not even been a year since Lee Myung-bak took office and already mutual exchange efforts between the two governments are suspended and the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the symbol of economic cooperation between two Koreas, appears to be in danger closing forever.

From Wait-and-See to Aggressive Confrontation

Since Dec 19, 2007 when Lee Myung-bak was confirmed as the elected president to the end of March 2008, the North Korean government maintained a wait-and-see attitude. Because the Grand National Party (한나라당) came to power, a party which had traditionally been aggressive toward the North, the North, while not worried, appeared to be cautious in the early days of Lee Myung-bak’s government.

For example, since the election in February of 2008, the North used the expression ‘South Korean authorities’, referring to Lee Myung-bak government. The expression ‘South Korean authorities’ is a term which implies the most respect from North Korean government. However, the attitude of the North seemed to become more confrontational following some statements made by the South Korean government. During March, ‘South Korean authorities’ changed to ‘Those in power in South Korea.’ There is no denying that the South Korean government, in its early days, gave the North the excuse to unnecessarily harden its relationship with the South, whether or not South Korea intended to do so.

In an early statement, Kim Ha-joong, Unification Minister of South Korea, said “expansion of the Kaesong Industrial Complex would be difficult without resolution of the North Korea’s nuclear issues” at an informal meeting on March 19. On March 26, at a Unification Ministry briefing, President Lee disclosed that “the most important relationship concerning the North and South is the Basic Agreements that were concluded in 1991.” He added, “with unresolved nuclear issues, unification of North and South and full-scale economic cooperation will be difficult.” He formalized the linkage of nuclear issues and economic cooperation.

The North’s interpretation of this statement is that Lee’s was actually going against the 6.15 Joint Statements and 10.4 North-South Summit Agreements. On the same day, Yu Myung-hwan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, made a statement, “our time and patience are running out regarding the North’s nuclear issues” at a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Rice. His statement strongly suggested a policy of pressure toward North Korea. On this very day, another notable statement came from General Kim Tae-young, Chairman Designate of the Joint Chiefs Commission. General Kim was asked a question at a parliament hearing, “What could be done if the North develops a small nuclear weapon and attacks South Korea?” His reply was, “We would locate the storage of the enemy’s weapon and destroy it.” This statement could be interpreted to mean a preemptive attack on the North, and therefore potentially an aggravating statement. North Korea responded immediately to these statements. On Mar 27, eleven South Korean staffers out of the thirteen at the Kaesong Industrial Complex were expelled. On the following day, a missile was fired off the west coast. On April 1, beginning with an editorial entitled, “The Only Thing South Korean Authorities could gain from an anti-North confrontation is ruin,” the Rodong Shinmun started a large-scale confrontation. The situation looked like a pot of boiling water that just had its lid taken off.

Aggressive Tactics in Full Scale
“No More Expectation from Lee Myung-bak Government”


Public Lecture Material published this past April with the title, “Concerning the Inevitability of Bankruptcy of the Anti-North Confrontation Policy Set By the Lee Myung-bak Group of Traitors”

Annual aid in fertilizer from the South has ceased and the South Korean government is not expected to deliver any other aid soon. This assessment of the situation by North Korea has incited an intense hostility toward the South. Here are shown the typical, ideological tactics by North: ideological warfare with the North means making up an incident out of the current issues and attacking with a concentrated fire.

Beginning with Lecture Material in reaction to particular statements made by the leaders of South Korea, North Korea explains what has recently raised their ire.

“We expelled eleven staffers of the puppet authorities from the Kaesong Industrial Complex and conducted a military exercise that will scare the enemy. Our Headquarters of the Navy issued statements toward South Korean puppets claiming the Northern Limit Line (NLL).”

Regarding the statement by the puppets that the South would initiate a preemptive attack on our nuclear base, we sent a telephone message clarifying our position that South Korea’s preemptive attack would cause the whole South Korea to end up in ashes.” This is what they call ‘utmost firm resolution in responsiveness’ in the early stage of ideological warfare. There is no room to move backward because it is ‘a matter of principle in a fatal win-or-lose situation.’ There is only one way to go, that is, ‘win.’ North claims they won the initial mental battle.

On April 1, the Rodong Shinmun commented on the lack of response from the Blue House. “The puppet authorities and the politicians of the South would normally have made immediate comments. So far, they keep quiet, perhaps, because they lost spirit. Even if Lee Myung-bak was branded as a ‘traitor’ by the Korean people, he cannot find any word with which to speak out. This is evidence of our initial victory.”

North Korea keeps claiming that the enemy was put into a dilemma, the dilemma being that the enemy cannot respond to these strong measures without adding to worries of a war breaking out. Furthermore, if Seoul does not respond or begs for forgiveness, it will cause them to lose face badly. Once the ideological warfare gets started, they try to justify why they have to strike and also they describe what the enemy’s situation is like. They try to show that their strike caused the enemy to be in that particular condition.

Even though the Lecture Material was developed for domestic propaganda toward North Korean residents, the attitude in the material makes a clear distinction between the governments of Kim Dae-Jung and Noh Moo-hyun and that of Lee Myung-bak as a hostile regime. This attitude will linger and forecasts a worsening North-South relationship.

“Why Does the South Interfere in the Matter of Nuclear Issues?”

North Korean residents do not have any idea the what Lee Myung-bak government said or what ‘[non-nuclear open-door 3000 (비핵개방 3000)]’ means. They don’t even know who Lee Myung-bak is. However, they clearly recognize that Lee Myung-bak is the one the Lecture Material claims as the leader of the reactionary anti-North confrontation policy of South.

The reasons why North Korea considers the South’s policy to be confrontational:

(1) It insists on a relationship with the U.S.A first and relationship between North and South second
(2) It insists on abandonment of nuclear weapons first
(3) Its focus on human rights and open-door policies
There is also irritation due to military and security issues

The North took issue with President Lee’s previous statement that is interpreted to negate the 6.15 Joint Statements and the 10.4 North-South Summit Agreements. This is considered by North Korea to be the most serious anti-North and anti-unification item. In addition, North does not understand the South’s position of ‘abandonment of nuclear weapons first’. ‘Abandonment of nuclear weapons first’ is already a consensus opinion in South, whereas it is unacceptable in North. South believes that ‘abandonment of nuclear weapons’ is essential for maintaining peace in the peninsula, whereas the North, even ordinary residents, believes it will make the situation more dangerous. “With nuclear weapons, we feel more secure and confident. “Nuclear weapons are necessary for protecting not only the North but also South.” This seems to be widely-held opinion among the residents of North.

This suggests that South Korea should approach the nuclear issue with more strategic emphasis. Many residents of North Korea consider ‘abandonment of nuclear weapons’ unacceptable. The South Korean government eventually will have to deal with the opinion of North Korean citizens as well as their government.

The North’s hardened attitude of, “even if we may break, we will not bend,” might bring a situation where the public sentiment of the residents of North may turn against the South Korean government. This is because the North Korean government will keep trying to persuade its residents of the necessity to keep nuclear weapons. The pressure brought on by the South’s strict bargaining tactics might be enough of a pretense to justify having a nuclear weapon.

Thirdly, the issues of human rights and open-door policies bring out distinctive differences in understanding between the North Korean government and its residents. The nuclear issues bring the two sides together, whereas the issues of human rights and open-door pull them apart, even creating unrest between them.

It is the North Korean government itself that is to blame on this issue, no one else, not the Lee Myung-bak government, and not the international community. Whatever ‘our style of human rights’ might be to North Korean residents, it is the North Korean residents who experience beatings by security agents in public, who have their property taken away at will by police, and who must suffer humiliating violence. The sight of a neighboring family being arrested and taken away during the night will easily scare residents. In addition, North Korea executes convicts in public. There is no way on earth that the residents of North Korea may feel that they are protected by law and that they have human rights. They feel resentment, expressing the sentiment, “what human rights are there when living in fear!” In the past, the residents never heard of the word, “human rights.” Since the passage of the “Resolution on Human Rights in North Korea” at the United Nations, there have been many instructional classes on human rights. Opposite to the intentions of North Korean government, the classes on human rights raise the level of sensitivity about how bad the situation really is when it comes to human rights in North Korea. Residents say, “We doze off during the class when they talk about human rights.”

There have been other incidents that aggravated the North Korean government. One is raining leaflets by balloon, leaflets containing accusations against the North and written by a group of North Korean defectors in South. Another issue is South Korea’s introduction of the U.N. resolution on human rights in North Korea. It is not easy to confirm their effectiveness in improving the level of consciousness on the part of North Korean residents. Rather, there is a claim that the above incidents so irritate the North Korean government that they end up chilling the North-South relationship and making the survival of North Korean residents more difficult. The immediately apparent effects seem to agree with this claim.

As far as the human rights issues are concerned, it might be better to let the North Korean government make their own mistakes than trying to force them to change their course of action. Unlike the nuclear issues, the relationship between North Korean government and its resident is rather clear on the issue of human rights. Therefore, it might be best to wait for the North Korean government to reform its behavior on its own.

So far, we have reviewed the reasons why the North Korean government has been carrying on its ideological warfare against the South.

North and South Governments, What Do They Fight For?

The second half of the Lecture Material deals with press quotations about critics turning their back on North Korea as well as other quotations from South Korea. The Lecture Material tries to generalize the resentment toward the South Korean government by means of quotations from newspapers, including The New York Times.

As usual, those so called “quotations” are not trustworthy because the sources are not revealed and the interpretations are not consistent. What is clear is that the residents of North Korea do not realize the disparities and this approach apparently is believed to work.

“All sectors of South Korean society believe that there is no issue of the Korean nation or any economic issue that can be solved without the cooperation of the North. Therefore, the only way to resolve the situation is for President Lee to ask for forgiveness and declare his intention to respect the 6.15 Joint Statements and 10.4 Agreements.” The North tries to make this request look like as if it was suggested by the South. At this point, it seems that there is some room left for the Lee government. Considering the short time left in 2008, it seems that the South will not summon the initiative to further interact with the North soon.

The North-South relationship started stretching due to some unnecessary irritable statements made early on. Instead of progress, communications produced further acrimony. We do not understand what was intended with the March 26 statements by the President, an army general and a foreign minister. It would be worthwhile to review what was gained from them, that is, what contribution to unification or what economic gain to the South.

More than anything else, consider how many North Korean residents have perished because of starvation during this consuming mental battle. Even if they could count a few gains, it definitely would be a strategic failure.

The South Korean government could stop the ideological warfare in advance. However, it seems to permit the continuation of the ideological tactics by giving the North excuses. The South Korean government claims not to respond to them, but they end up irritating their counterparts in the North. All of these actions push the two parties farther from the path of unification.

In 2008, a wave of attacks by the North restricted the South’s options. If the Kaesong Industrial Complex is forced to close, the investment worth W 500 billion will be lost and along with the international community’s trust.

It seems necessary for the North Korean government to maintain a perspective that is not focused a short-term gains but on long-term benefits regarding the whole Korea. It would not matter much whoever remains after a fierce battle because both will be losers in the cold reality of the international community.

What North Korea fears is unification by absorption, that is, North Korea being absorbed by the South. An evidence of this fear is shown at the end of the Lecture Material. It states, “We should never develop any delusions about South Korea or any tiny bit of attachment to the South Korean economy. We should stick with the principles of revolution and class struggle.”

The South Korean government ought to understand this fear. The North Korean government must learn to understand that the only way to overcome this fear is not to accuse the South but to obtain substantial economic capabilities. That cannot be achieved by engaging the South in ideological warfare. It can only be achieved by cooperation with its counterpart. After having its name removed from the list of sponsors of terrorism, the North will need a guarantee by South for securing any investment from the Asian Development Bank or any other international fund. Any investment would not be possible without a guarantee by the South.

North Korea always shouts “Among Ourselves” or accuses the South of being “dependent on the United States.” And yet, when it is time for both Koreas to talk to each other, the North seems to choose United States as partner. This very fact speaks clearly that it is the North itself that depends on the United States.

It would be an empty dream if the North desires to develop its economy and build a strong nation either by ignoring or alienating the South. It is also a dram best abandoned if the North ever believes that the United States would provide funds or help develop its economy. The only country that is willing and able to invest in North is South Korea. North Korean authorities do not tolerate any accusations or insults toward Chairman Kim. However, the North is too quick to deliver a personal insult to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. It is not too late to start sharing mutual respect toward both leaders of North and South Korea. This will be a good way to initiate a conversation.

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