Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Tsutomu Nishioka

【#494(Special)】Military Parade Trap Set by Pyongyang

Tsutomu Nishioka / 2018.02.01 (Thu)

January 29, 2018

     Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced he would visit South Korea to attend an opening ceremony for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games on February 9. He will hold talks with South Korean President Moon Jae In on the same day. Pyongyang has approached Seoul because economic sanctions and military pressure have worked. Such approach had been well expected. Abe should make sure that the Moon government will not offer any escape route to Pyongyang. Abe told his aides that he would reaffirm the policy of enhancing pressure on North Korea at talks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stopping over in Japan before visiting South Korea and that the Japanese and U.S. leaders would convey the reaffirmation to President Moon.
     Washington asked Tokyo to warn Moon not to weaken pressure on Pyongyang as Seoul was likely to do so, according to media reports. This may be a reason Abe decided to visit South Korea even at a time when Japanese public sentiment against South Korea is worsening over the comfort women issue.

KPA event on the eve of the Olympics
     The sanctions have turned out effective. As China has suspended high quality coke exports to North Korea, thermal power plants in Pyongyang have no choice but to use domestically produced low quality coal, shutting down their operations for more than 10 days this year. The ration has been limited to corn in the absence of rice supply. U.S. forces have recently deployed B-2 and B-52 strategic bombers in Guam, enhancing pressure on North Korea.
     However, Pyongyang has carefully planned to take political advantage of the Pyeongchang Olympics. On January 22, Pyongyang suddenly announced that February 8, the day before the opening of the Olympics, would be the anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army and that various events would take place to mark the anniversary. It claimed that these events would commemorate North Korean founder Kim Il Sung’s creation of regular army on February 8, 1948. Then, April 25, which had been designated as the military founding anniversary based on a doubtful fact that Kim Il Sung created anti-Japan forces on the day in 1932, was renamed the anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army.
     The announcement reveals that North Korea is an ultimate military-first state that created its regular forces in February 1948 before the country’s founding in September of the same year. North Korea and leftists in South Korea had claimed that South Korea’s first President Rhee Syngman is responsible for the division of the Korean Peninsula as he created a country covering only southern Korea in August 1948. However, the latest North Korean announcement made clear that Kim Il Sung founded the regular forces before South Korea’s founding and was responsible for the division.

Tokyo should protest Pyongyang
     Pyongyang has set a trap in which North Korea holds a large-scale military parade to propagandize “the completion of state nuclear forces” as a major achievement of KPA’s 70-year long history and, on the next day, Moon, Abe and Pence give applause to a North Korean delegation marching under a “unification flag” at the opening ceremony for the Pyeongchang Olympics. North Korean athletes participating in the Winter Olympics have little chance to win any medal. They will be sent to Pyeongchang only for the opening ceremony.
     While playing up a reconciliation mood by offering North Korea’s participation in the Pyeongchang Olympics, North Korean dictator Kim Jon Un in his new year address described this year as seeing “the 70th anniversary of the development of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army into a regular revolutionary armed force by the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung,” indicating a military parade plan.
     Prime Minister Abe should protest the planned North Korean military parade and ask President Moon to join the protest. The U.S. Chargé d'Affaires ad interim in South Korea has already made a protest to the plan, criticizing the military parade as poisoning the spirit of the Olympics and representing a challenge to the international community.

Tsutomu Nishioka is a member of the Planning Committee at the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals and Visiting Professor at Reitaku University.