North Korea lashes out at South

2011-12-25 12:17

Seoul - North Korea on Sunday lashed out at South Korea for a perceived lack of respect towards Kim Jong-Il, as it reported more scenes of mass grieving in the isolated communist state for the late leader.

Saying the whole world is in mourning for "a peerlessly great man", the North for the second time in three days blasted the South over its response to Kim's sudden death on December 17.

There would be "unpredictable catastrophic consequences" for cross-border relations unless Seoul eases restrictions on condolence visits by South Koreans to Pyongyang, it said.

The South blames its neighbour for two deadly border incidents last year, but has taken a generally conciliatory stance since Monday's shock announcement that Kim had died of a heart attack two days earlier at age 69.

The Seoul government sent its sympathies to the North's people, scrapped a controversial plan to display Christmas lights near the border and announced that South Koreans could send pre-approved condolence messages northwards.

North opening the borders

But the authorities, who must by law approve all contacts with Pyongyang, are allowing only two private delegations to visit the North to pay respects and is not sending an official team.

Following the South's announcement, the North said it would open its borders to all South Koreans who wish to travel to Pyongyang.

"The South Korean authorities should bear in mind that their obstructions will entail unpredictable catastrophic consequences to the north-south relations," a spokesperson for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, a state body overseeing cross-border relations, told the official news agency.

The Seoul authorities' "unethical acts bereft of elementary etiquette and compatriotism have touched off unanimous outrage and wrath among Koreans and all other people of the world", the spokesperson said.

Despite the tough rhetoric, analysts generally do not expect shows of military force as the new regime headed by Kim's son Jong-Un settles in.

Extra hot drinks, medical care for mourners

The North's state media has been heaping praise on both the late father and the son for the past week.

Jong-Un has laid on extra hot drinks and medical care for streams of mourners visiting various sites in the bitter cold, its news agency said.

On Saturday the ruling party hailed Jong-Un as "supreme commander", the latest sign that the untested youth in his late 20s is tightening his grip on power.

But the Kim dynasty's newest ruler remains a figure of mystery to the world, which is seeking clues to future policy in the nuclear-armed nation.

Fresh TV footage aired on Sunday showed Jong-Un and other top military and party officials paying respects the previous day at the bier bearing the glass coffin of his late father.

They included Jang Song-Thaek, Jong-Un's uncle and a likely key figure in the succession process, wearing a military uniform with the insignia of a general.

The South's Yonhap news agency said it was the first time Jang had been shown in public wearing a military uniform, triggering speculation he might have been appointed a general after Kim's death.

The North's news agency said participants pledged the military's loyalty to the son under the slogan "Let us defend with our very lives the Party Central Committee headed by respected Comrade Kim Jong-Un!"

Ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said more than 10 000 workers and soldiers had made pilgrimages as of Saturday to Mount Paekdu on the Chinese border, the supposed birthplace of Kim Jong-Il.

  • Geronimo - 2011-12-25 12:23

    North Korea is deluding itself with its own propaganda.

      John - 2011-12-25 14:05

      Kim Jong-Il does not deserve any respect. He exploited, oppressed, repressed, and enslaved the PEOPLE of North Korea. And Genocided them by ignorance, incompetence, negligence, and murder. But let us think back to when western europeans were able to go to communist countries, to Cuba, and see the abject poverty of the communist PEOPLE. Here is a chance to let everybody go to North Korea and see the abject poverty of the PEOPLE. Surely they will try to stage manage the event; but even than the very tools of the state apparatus will show Free Koreans the reality of stark poverty of the communist government itself. Witness the treatment of PEOPLE like CATTLE, be treated like SLAVES. Perhaps Free Koreans should be ENCOURAGED to go and visit their relatives in NK?

  • Chaapo - 2011-12-25 12:27

    Who needs to validate this madness?

  • Mark - 2011-12-25 12:41

    They want the South Koreans' money and goods that they will bring with them into the North. They may even hold those foolish enough to make the journey, as hostages. The Seoul government is right; protect your people from falling into this trap. North Korea knows very well that the South would refuse its people permission to go North, and is trying to turn it into anti-South propaganda.

  • steve.dupreez - 2011-12-25 13:28

    I find the whole mouring thing in VERY bad taste. I mean - people throwing themselves on the floor in sadness. Was he really "beloved leader"? I don't know, this whole thing smacks of very bad directed off-off-off broadway comedy. I apologise if I come across as insensitive towards the passing of a man but really!!

      Carlos - 2011-12-25 14:13

      Steve, this is the most flagrant example of a "Orwellian" State one can imagine. North Koreans live a life of penury and want, everything is controlled by the "dear leader's" state aparatus. The incessant state sponsored propaganda "builds" this Big Brother-like figure into a god, who does not even DEFECATE! The people eat propaganda all day, they do not even know how democracy works, what happens in other countries, North Korea is painted as the victim of the whole world's wickedness. Eh Eh, wait for Julius, his plan is not far from Kim Ill Jung's...

      Mark - 2011-12-25 14:49

      The defectors here in South Korea have been telling the national newspapers that when Kim Il Sung died in 1994, some people were pinching themselves and 'turning laughter into tears' out of sheer fear of what would happen to them should they fail to show enough grief. The North Koreans are not stupid - a lot of them know the truth about the Kims, but they know a gulag awaits them should they not dance to the tune of the spin doctors.

  • Johan Grobbelaar - 2011-12-25 13:37

    He is just sleeping like his daddy. RISE, my deluded short fatboy, RISE I tell u!

  • spartanx93 - 2011-12-25 13:55

    last time i checked the north is the only country mourning this fool...

  • Larry - 2011-12-25 13:57

    A Man that scores 6 hole in one's in a single game and makes the flowers bloom as he walks by, shoulb be respected……..How dare they not grovel?…..He will come back as the Tooth Fairy and give them nothing.

  • Motho - 2011-12-25 15:45

    Respect for what?

  • PaasHaas - 2011-12-25 17:57

    The world is devastastated by the untimely death of the Ronald McDonald of Pyongyang.

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