North Koreans Say Nation Is Not on War Footing

Since tensions between North and South Korea started mounting, war scenarios have been easy to find in the domestic South Korean media so, of course, apprehensions of war are easy to find among the South Korean people.

However, the North has been peaceful even though state radio broadcaster Chosun Central Broadcast and Rodong Shinmun have both released harsh criticisms of South Korea related to the Cheonan incident.

That being said, on Sunday afternoon the North Korean authorities summoned a rally of around 100,000 Pyongyang citizens in Kim Il Sung Square entitled “Pyongyang Citizens’ Rally to Criticize the Anti-Republic Confrontational Maneuvers of the American Imperialists and Betrayer Factions.” The event was subsequently reported by Chosun Central Broadcast, radio stations.

However, sources whom The Daily NK interviewed on Sunday said that they have not heard anything about war scenarios whatsoever.

A source from Hoiryeong said, “Why do you ask? We don’t have any educational materials such as military decrees handed down to even the municipal or provincial committees or Local People’s Committee. I wonder where you are getting those war scenario ideas from.”

He added, “However, there have been lectures and meetings for cadres criticizing the South, saying that, ‘The Lee Myung Bak puppet regime fabricate the Cheonan incident in order to promote extreme confrontation and attempt a military attack.” This has made cadres tense, but there have not been any special measures to raise the tensions of residents.

The source asked back, “Due to the sinking of a South Chosun ship, are they trying to create a war?” And then, he explained more, “The military cadres say that if a war breaks out then we can live better, while Party cadres have a negative opinion of it.”
The North Korean authorities may wish to wait and see how the confrontation between North and South develops and then, when they need to create the highest level of tension, bring about a quasi-state of war or a war mobilization posture and implement training of the Worker and Peasant Red Guard.

Nevertheless, based on this firsthand evidence, the crisis of an impending war, which has been suggested by those parts of the South Korean media inclined to the North Korean regime and in the international media, appears groundless.

A source from Shinuju concluded cynically, “In lectures, the authorities have asserted that the gunstock should be strong in order to develop the strong and prosperous state, and that we should bring about reunification with that gunstock. But it is what they always claim. There have not been any decrees about a war posture or other military measures handed down to us.”