North Korea: push to “final victory”
On the anniversary of the nation’s founder’s birth, Kim Jong-un gave his first public speech since taking office. Thousands of military and civilians attended the ceremony in Pyongyang to mark the country’s centenary. This was the North Korean’s new leader first major public speech and he called for a push to “final victory”.
Kim Jong-un, the third Kim to rule North Korea, readout a prepared 20-minute speech in Pyongyang’s central square 15 April, 2012, with the familiar marching soldiers and sailors demonstrating the North’s military might.
Appearing to be holding to like policies of his forebears, the “military-first” policies were once again rolled out. These have so-far brought North Korea to the technical edge of obtaining nuclear weapons capacity. For that result, the 20-something year old Kim lauded his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, and his father, Kim Jong-il, as “founders and the builders of our revolutionary armed forces”.
“Let us move forward to final victory,” the 20-something leader urged the tens of thousands of military and civilians as they applauded throughout. It could be said that the contents of the speech were nothing new but the fact the young Kim spoke was a surprise and differed from the so many years of silence from Kim’s father when he presided over such events. Was this some form of redress following North Korea’s attempt to launch a long-range rocket which ended in failure the past Friday?
North Korea also differed from its previous practice of tight lipped silence when it publicly admitted on state television that the Unha-3 rocket had failed to deliver its weather satellite into orbit.
In February this year, the North Koreans stated the country would freeze its uranium enrichment and missile tests, and let international inspectors back in to keep track. However, at the same time another announcement came out stating that North Korea was planning a rocket launch mid-April, an action that got all of its opponents up in arms, and some up in armaments.
It’s similar to the Iran case, lack of trust – or intentional misinformation – resulting in a media frenzy of announcements that in the Korea case it was a ballistic missile test whereas North Korea insisted it was a communications satellite launch. Iran of course is legitimately entitled to nuclear power and likewise insists their nuclear power industry is to build energy producing plants and not nuclear weapons.
Gensuikyo – Japan Council against A & H Bombs – issued a statement on North Korea’s rocket launch, April 12, 2012.
Masakazu Yasui, Secretary General, said: *“…this has increased grave concern among the public in Japan and other Asian countries. Because it [North Korea] has repeated missile launches and nuclear tests since 2006; and in 2009, the UN Security Council unanimously prohibited North Korea from conducting nuclear tests and ballistic missile activity.”*
*“As an organization opposing the use and threat to use nuclear weapons,” Masakazu Yasui continued, “and working for a total ban on nuclear weapons, we strongly urge North Korea to stop such rocket launches. In addition, North Korea should halt all planned development of nuclear weapons and missiles.”*
Broaching the response of Japan, Masakazu Yasui further stated: *“On the other hand, since North Korea announced the launch plan, the Japanese government has spent its time in preparing for military response to it by the deployment of SM3 and PAC3 interceptors and the Defense Minister even authorized to “shoot it down”. This attitude may invite more dangerous situations. The Japanese government should make every possible effort to resolve this issue peacefully through diplomacy, based on the constitutional principle of peaceful resolution of international disputes and as the party concerned.”*
This spokesman sees that there is a problem that is binding everything into one unwholesome and dangerous bag…. *“there is a vicious circle of repeating nuclear and military threats since the era of the Cold War. Our organization urges all the governments concerned to break this vicious circle and make efforts to resolve this problem by joining the global current seeking for a nuclear weapon-free world.”*
During his end-of-March 2012 visit to South Korea US President Obama made a challenging and daring statement – which did not make the headlines: *“The day all Koreans yearn for will not come easily or without great sacrifice, but make no mistake, it will come. And when it does, when it does, change will unfold that once seemed impossible. And checkpoints will open, and watchtowers will stand empty, and families long separated will finally be reunited, and the Korean people at long last will be whole and free.”*
That vision provides a wider perspective on the apparent need for nuclear weapons on the Korean continent at all. Then, like Iran, Korea can have its nuclear installations for use in energy generation – just till before they are all closed down as too risky and too intimately linked to nuclear weapons production – no nuclear power stations, no nuclear weapons! That’s a “Final Victory” worth marching for.