Divorce, North Korean Style
Listen to Today's Edition
North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong Un scrapped a decades-long process of facilitating reunification with South Korea, demanding instead for it to be designed as his country’s main antagonist in the constitution, and warning of war, Reuters reported.
Addressing his rubber-stamp legislature, the dictator called for South Korea’s description of “primary foe and invariable principal enemy” and it will also distinguish the two countries’ territories.
Key government agencies that have worked toward reunification for more than 60 years are to be dismantled, state media reported.
In a context of growing tensions between the two Koreas, with a series of missile tests carried out by Pyongyang recently, Kim said unification of the two states was no longer a plausible option. He accused his neighbors of attempting to overturn the communist regime that he leads.
Should tensions escalate into a full-on military conflict, essentially resuming the unconcluded war that tore Korea apart between 1950 and 1953, Kim said he had “no intention of avoiding it.” He added that in the case of war, North Korea should aim at occupying South Korea.
South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol reacted to Kim’s comments in a cabinet meeting, calling him “anti-national and anti-historical,” and added that Seoul’s response to Pyongyang’s armed provocations would be “multiple times hard.”
Kim Jong Un has rejected the legacy of his father, Kim Jong Il, and his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, who had made reunification one of their predominant goals. He has pledged to destroy a monument, the Arch of Reunification, erected by Kim Jong Il, dubbing it an “eyesore.”
Kim framed his policy reversal within a set of priorities to promote internal unity.
Nonetheless, his belligerent language has betrayed a feeling of insecurity, “losing the upper hand” in the face of enhanced cooperation between South Korea, the US, and Japan, researcher Won Gon Park told Reuters.