Given the current political circumstances on the Korean Peninsula, the November 23rd attack on Yeonpyeong Island appears closely related to the need to strengthen the Kim Jong Eun succession system, according to a researcher with Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights (NKnet).
That is, this military provocation is a deliberately planned measure to overcome instability in the third generation succession and reinforce the legitimacy of the power transition to Kim Jong Eun.
Acknowledging the presence of many other possible causes such as encouraging bilateral talks with the U.S., frustrating progress in inter-Korean relations and undermining the contested Northern Limit Line in the West Sea, researcher Kim Young Hwan explained to The Daily NK on the 24th, “The attack was to appeal to the military that Kim Jong Eun is a brave leader who doesn’t fear the enemy and will resolutely attack it.”
Kim specified, “The purpose is to stop military officials getting distracted from their purpose by raising tensions, and to develop in them during the process of dealing with the military operation the realization that they are in the same boat as Kim Jong Eun.”
He went on to say that for North Korea this massive provocation represents one “means to eliminate the atmosphere whereby people consider the young successor unreliable, conflicts between old and rising cadres and latent insubordinate trends which people have been harboring in their minds during the succession process thus far.”
“Raising tensions and creating external crises can create a beneficial situation for the establishment of the succession by creating a situation where people feel that they could all collapse together unless they are united as one surrounding the core.”
On the same topic, one anonymous researcher with a national policy institute added, “Raising tensions is favorable for controlling the system so they can block elements which could hollow out the solidarity of the system.”
The researcher said, “To successfully establish the succession system, there have to be ways for the system to survive, such as nuclear weapons and foreign aid, but now it is in a difficult situation. Therefore, they are following hard line and appeasement policies in alternation.”