'North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, left, visits the Jaeryung Mine located in Hwanghae Province in this undated picture released by KCNA, North Korea’s official news agency, on Jan. 4. (KCNA).'
N.Korea issues strong response to reported S.Korean contingency plan:
Experts say the statement is indicative of a struggle between the conciliatory tone of the united front line and military hardline position, which is expected to prevail
Posted on : Jan.16,2010 12:40 KST
North Korea’s National Defense Commission (NDC) issued a statement Friday saying, “If South Korea refuses to issue a sincere apology for creating a contingency plan for countermeasures to prepare for a ‘sudden change’ in North Korea, it will be excluded from all negotiations for improving inter-Korean relations and restoring peace to the Korean peninsula.”
In a statement issued by the commission’s spokesman on the same day, they stated, “The National Defense Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is issuing this statement through its entrusted supreme power.”
This marks the first the commission has issued an official statement through a spokesman since 1998, when it became the supreme power of North Korea. The statement’s tone is expected to have a significant impact on inter-Korean relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. In consideration of the statement’s tone, observers say resuming six-party talks may be difficult and that inter-Korean relations, of which North Korea has shown reconciliatory gestures since last August when it sent a North Korea mourning delegation to the funeral of late President Kim Dae-jung, are expected to become colder.
Experts are interpreting this as North Korea’s expression of opposition to participation in six-party talks, since although North Korea had mentioned “negotiations for peace on the Korean peninsula,” which would mean six-party talks. And it would be impossible to reopen the talks without South Korea’s participation.
In addition, experts also anticipate that the proposal for working-level talks to resume tourism to Mt. Kumgang tour will be canceled.
In their statement, North Korea mentioned the “The Emergency Governing Plan for North Korea: Buheung (revival),” referencing a reported contingency plan created by South Korea that details a unilateral course of action South Korea would implement in the event of a sudden change in North Korea. They also said in their statement, “We will also retaliate through a holy war and destroy the base of all parties responsible for the plan including the Cheong Wa Dae (the presidential office in South Korea or Blue House).” North Korea also asserted their dissolution of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and Unification Ministry, indicating that North Korea plans to cut the unofficial negotiation channel between North Korea and South Korea through the NIS and Unification Ministry.
In response, the South Korean government issued a statement through a spokesperson of the Unification Ministry stating, “It is regrettable that North Korea has acted in a threatening manner based only on an unconfirmed report posted by a media outlet in South Korea.” One media outlet in South Korea recently reported the existence of a plan entitled Buheung.
However, Kim Yeon-cheol, head of the Hankyoreh Peace Institute, said, “North Korea’s statement should be interpreted as a comprehensive evaluation of inter-Korean relations by North Korea from last August through now.” Kim expressed his anticipation for inter-Korean relations in saying, “Inter-Korean relations are entering a new tough season.”
Regarding North Korea’s recently mixed attitude, former Unification Minister Chung Sye-hyun said, “Conflict will arise between military authorities and the united front line, which has thus far maintained power on inter-Korean affairs.” Chung, however, also said, “In the end, the military leadership’s hardline policy will win out over the united front line’s conciliatory policy.”
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© 2006 The Hankyoreh Media Company.
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