The party is over. The Northern representatives of the 8.15 (Liberation Day) Minjok (people of one nation, sharing one blood, brethren) Grand Festival returned to Pyongyang. An empty joke ended.
Was the 8.15 Minjok Grand Festival sincerely grand festival of the minjok? No, not really.
The seventy million who must have been the protagonists of the 60th celebration of the Korean liberation were left out, and it was a meaningless act by the foolish Roh administration and the Kim Jong Il dictatorship, and pro-North Korea organizations. The significant 60th anniversary of the liberation ended in vain.
The domestic politics facing this 60th anniversary turned into chaos, just like the one the nation lived during its sudden liberation sixty years ago.
The representative delegates from the North visited the National Memorial Board and gave silent prayer on the 14th. On the 16th, for the first time since the constitutional government, the North Korean delegates visited the National Assembly.
On the day of liberation, August 15, mass gatherings were held at Seoul Station and Kwanghwamun by conservative groups while the hard-line pro-North Korea groups such as “Unification Alliance” and “Hanchongyon” (Korean Young Adults Alliance) held protests shouting “Removal of American Troops” all night long.
On the day of 60th anniversary, the “anti-foreign influence, inter-Korean cooperation” sentiment reached its peak. Minister of Unification, Jung Dong Young, at the formal dinner with the North Korean delegates, called for a toast saying, “Let our voice for peaceful unification resonate in Tokyo, Beijing, and Washington.”
Isolation of South Korea and Trembling South Korea
How could we understand the current confusion on the Korean peninsula?
Kim Jong Il’s current strategy is to take South Korea as a leverage to over-cross disadvantaged current domestic and international political situation while it trembles the inside of South Korea. While it puts forward “By our Minjok only” it aims to prevent outside aggressions by putting South Korea as a shield.
As the North drags more and more South Korea to the North Korean side by shouting “By our Minjok only,” as South Korea responds more and more back by shouting “inter-Korean (Minjok) cooperation,” anti-US and Pro-North Korea slogans, the Korean peninsula will inevitably become more and more segregated from the international society. This is the North’s strategy to isolate South Korean from the international society.
We can obtain another evidence of the North’s strategy from Kim Il Sung’s theories. While he was still alive, Kim Il Sung once suggested “South Korea Hat Strap Theory.” The theory argues that South Korea is like a hat held still by two straps – ROK-US military alliance and ROK-Japan alliance – and whichever the strap may be, the hat will be blown away by wind only if one strap gets untied.
Of course, South Korea is deeply influenced by the global trend in all parts of the society, but it is still an undeniable fact that the two pillars that maintain South Korea are the ROK-US alliance and the ROK-Japan cooperative relations. Kim Jong Il is trying to strangle South Korea and weaken the ROK-US and ROK-Japan relations. Such strategy has well been revealed throughout the six-party talks.
Kim Il Sung’s theoretical guidance goes on.
“South Korea has 40 million (people) and we have 20 million. If half of South Koreans side with us, we will win in the end.”
Regardless of whether Kim Il Sung’s guidance seems to be “ignorant” or not, Kim Jong Il’s “trembling South Korea” strategy started from it. That is what we have heard for so long, the so-called “Peaceful alliance with the North, long and soft power strategy towards North Korea.” The North Korean delegation’s visits to the National Memorial Board and the National Assembly are also understood as part of the “trembling South Korea strategy.”
Furthermore, whether or not Kim Jong Il’s strategy is heading towards a right direction or not, it is true that South Korean popular sentiment have been divided heavily into two extremes regarding the North Korean issue and what is clear is that such a division is still ongoing.
No Tricks Work in International Relations
In such a case, is Kim Jong Il’s strategy making its way through? Or is it only an attempt to make up for the domestic “numerical inferiority”? In the given perspective, the latter seems more convincing.
However, Kim Jong Il is trying to grab both at the same time. One is nuclear weapons and the other is “by our Minjok only” Through nuclear weapons, he aims at maintaining his dictatorship and through “inter-Korean (Minjok) cooperation,” he could benefit economically from South Koreans while he protects himself from Japanese pressure.
In that case, was South Korean appeasement policy toward North Korea an act based on realizing North Korea’s “numerical inferiority” aiming to change the Kim Jong Il regime by siding with the North?
While pursuing the famous Sunshine Policy, DJ (former South Korean President Kim Dae Jung) said, “The Sunshine Policy must be conducted under a strong security (system).” He also mentioned “the separation of economy and politics.” However, we have been assured that it was a lie, as the North Korean nuclear possession demonstrates.
If the Sunshine Policy was a trick to deceive other parties, DJ’s trick was not to deceive Kim Jong Il, but it was to deceive South and North Korean brethren. Despite of such fact, the present Roh administration and many South Korean people daydream about changing the North Korean regime through appeasement policy and Minjok cooperation.
No tricks work in international relations. Kim Jong Il has been earning money by playing tricks for eight years and in the end, has even earnt himself nuclear weapons. Kim Jong Il let DJ win a Nobel Peace Prize while he received tremendous amount of financial aid and built nuclear weapons.
This is the current situation of the Korean peninsula on the sixtieth birthday of the national liberation.
Kim Jong Il’s strategy will fail in the end
Will Kim Jong Il’s strategy succeed in trembling the South Korean society? No, it will not.
All Kim Jong Il has today is his nuclear weapons for the maintenance of his regime, and 23 million North Korean people as hostages to carry out the “Military First Politics.”
However, the conscience of the 23 million North Korean people is changing. Ten years after they lived through the mass starvation of the mid-90s, while they have crossed back and forth the line of death and life many time over, anti-Kim Jong Il sentiment had been sprouting among them.
These days, words go around that “Kim Jong Il is a bad man”, even in Pyongyang. This is not a result of the Sunshine Policy, but it may be the expression of people who can no longer believe in Kim Jong Il, now indirectly protesting that they do not want to die of starvation sitting down doing nothing.
South Korean cooperation with the North is nothing more than an obstacle to such an upbringing movement. If North Korean people see South Korean politicians paying visit and leaving flowers in front of Kim Il Sung statues just because the North Korean delegates visited the National Memorial Board, they will fall into deep despair.
Kim Jong Il relied on the nuclear weapons as the last resort for the regime maintenance. However, he will never be able to use his nuclear weapons. He knows better than anybody else that he will die too with the detonation.
We do not have to worry about Kim Jong Il’s nuclear weapons. What Kim Jong Il fears the most is ignorance of the international society toward his nuclear weapons. For this reason, the right strategy would be to completely ignore Kim Jong Il’s nuclear weapons.
There is something Kim Jong Il fears even more than nuclear weapons. That is “human rights.” The weapons of human rights, freedom, and democracy over which even nuclear weapons cannot win. Those are the weapons Kim Jong Il truly fears. This is not a trick but a justified policy toward North Korea.
The Progressive Movement Started on the Korean Peninsula
On the sixtieth year since the national liberation, the Korean peninsula is entering an entirely new phase.
The Roh administration and pro-North Korea force are holding on to old ideologies and falling deep into the mirage of “inter-Korean (Minjok) cooperation,” and Kim Jong Il is trying to maintain his dictatorship regime by taking advantage of that. This is the dark side of the Korean peninsula sixty years after the national liberation.
On the other hand we have the North Korean human rights declaration by the new progressive groups upon the sixtieth birthday of our nation’s liberation, the university students’ North Korean human rights declaration, a true freedom, democracy, conscious social forces under the rule of law domestic and international societies, increasing voices for the North Korean human rights from the international society, and above all, the 23 million North Korean people slowly waking up.
Those are the bright and hopeful sides of the Korean peninsula meeting the sixtieth birthday of the nation’s liberation.
We must hurry and bring the nation out from the present chaos and take it to the bright future full of hope. We must take our steps toward a new history where human rights, freedom, and democracy overflow.
On the sixtieth birthday of the national liberation, a real struggle between light and darkness, good and evil, right and wrong, satisfaction and dissatisfaction, free democracy and dictatorship started for the Korean peninsula.
This struggle is a true fight to clearly define the winner and the loser for the entire Korean peninsula. And this fight will continue until free democracy completely wins.