Leader Kim Jong-un has called for amending Pyongyang’s constitution to classify South Korea as the “No. 1 hostile country”
North Korea has followed through on leader Kim Jong-un’s conclusion that peaceful reunification with Seoul is impossible, scrapping the government agencies that were involved in such efforts and preparing to constitutionally brand South Korea as Pyongyang’s archenemy.
Speaking to North Korea’s parliament on Monday, Kim called for changing South Korea’s constitutional status to the “No. 1 hostile country.” The parliament immediately agreed to scrap the agencies involved in promoting reunification with the South and inter-Korean tourism, Pyongyang’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Tuesday.
Kim reiterated his conclusion that reunification of the two Koreas is no longer possible, citing claims that Seoul seeks to force the collapse of Pyongyang to gobble up North Korea. His comments followed a statement in late December that Pyongyang’s approach to reunification based on “one state with two systems” was diametrically opposed to Seoul’s goal of “unification by absorption.”
The North Korean leader has claimed that the US is seeking a military confrontation on the peninsula and has essentially turned South Korea into a military base and “colonial subordinate state.” He warned on Monday that military conflict may be inevitable.
“We don’t want war, but we have no intention of avoiding it,” KCNA quoted Kim as saying. “We will never unilaterally unleash a war if the enemies do not provoke us,” he added, warning that the “enemies should never misjudge this as our weakness.”
Former US State Department official Bob Carlin co-authored a report last week claiming that the situation on the Korean Peninsula is now more dangerous than at any time since June 1950, when the Korean War began. “Like his grandfather in 1950, Kim Jong-un has made a strategic decision to go to war. We do not know when or how Kim plans to pull the trigger, but the danger is already far beyond the routine warnings,” he claimed.
The US and South Korea have ramped up joint military exercises in the past year, while North Korea has carried out a series of missile tests. Pyongyang reportedly tested a solid-fuel ballistic missile armed with a hypersonic warhead on Sunday. The South Korean Defense Ministry condemned the launch and vowed an “overwhelming response” if Pyongyang commits a “direct provocation.”
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